Founded in 2013 by Mindy Freedman, the SAM Initiative is a group of individuals who have pooled their financial resources and experience to fund and support exceptional and innovative programs in Los Angeles that promote social change and benefit women, children and families.  While our members differ in age, professional background and stage of life, we share a commitment to raising awareness of the needs in our community and giving in a more involved way.


Together, we strive to educate and engage donors by investing in community-based organizations that reflect our passions and address the most pressing needs in our community.  We pride ourselves on our ability to connect people to organizations they're passionate about — many of our members have been inspired to make personal donations, volunteer, and get involved in new causes.

SAM functions on an annual basis: our giving cycle begins in October and is completed in May.  Well-suited organizations are individually selected by our nominations committee to participate in our giving cycle. The process includes organizational presentations, evaluation of grant applications, and site visits so that due diligence can be done, followed by an award ceremony.

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Our Story

The SAM Initiative was founded by Mindy Freedman in 2013 who wanted to share her own experience in collaborative giving and use her years of involvement with nonprofit organizations to inspire others. The SAM Initiative was born out of the passion and dedication of like-minded individuals wanting to have a meaningful impact in the community. 

Mindy Freedman, Founder of The Sam Initiative

Mindy Freedman, Founder of The Sam Initiative

The SAM Initiative’s visionary founder Mindy Freedman is a Los Angeles-based social entrepreneur and philanthropist.  A long-time proponent in the power of collaborative giving, Mindy created the SAM Initiative with the belief that we have more impact together than we have alone.  Through engaged philanthropy, her work continues to inspire others to give, actively creating social change.

Mindy has more than two decades of experience working as a consultant for individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations. Her expertise in micro-lending programs took her to Latin America, where she consulted with several NGOs and the U.S. Agency for International Development. After returning to the United States, she applied her expertise in strategic planning, implementation, innovation, and executive coaching.  She served a term as Guest Faculty at the Graduate School of Nonprofit Management at The American Jewish University.

Currently, Ms. Freedman is a Trustee at the Jewish Community Foundation in Los Angeles. Mindy earned her BA in International Affairs and Spanish from the University of Colorado, and an MPA in International Development and Spanish from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.