How Do You Know You’ve Been Successful?

Dr. Leonard M. Lipman

“While I always had the desire to be charitable, the logistics of gift-giving were quite complicated. I created the Leonard M. Lipman Diabetes Management Program at Venice Family Clinic, and The Foundation’s knowledgeable staff helped me create a reporting system to ensure that the money I donated was being used as I intended. I’m very pleased with the way this was done, and I’m grateful to them for making the giving process simpler and more impactful.”

Dr. Leonard M. Lipman

Retired physician Leonard M. Lipman, M.D., has devoted his life to healing the sick. As an endocrinologist, Dr. Lipman is acutely aware of the epidemic rise in diabetes and its ravages if not properly managed: kidney disease, blindness, and death. With help from The Foundation, he created the Leonard M. Lipman Diabetes Management Program at Venice Family Clinic, where hundreds of low-income patients have received treatment. Dr. Lipman’s core values of innovation and compassion (rahamanut) are reflected in the creation of this program and its implementation. The caring staff and innovative technology provide a seamless process of diabetes treatment to those who need it most.


Born in Brooklyn and raised in Los Angeles, Dr. Lipman’s family was always active in the community. His mother was very involved with B’nai Brith, an organization dedicated to promoting human rights, community service, and philanthropy, including helping young women develop a positive Jewish identity. Leonard was a member of Aleph Zadik Aleph (AZA)—a Jewish and personal enrichment fraternal organization—in high school, and he and his father were both members of the Boy Scouts of America. Being involved in community groups was “just a part of life” in the Lipman home.

After completing medical school in San Francisco, Dr. Lipman returned to Los Angeles and eventually joined a multi-specialty medical group in Redondo Beach. He frequently made small donations to nonprofits but didn’t have the means to make large contributions. Then, in early 2012, seven years after his retirement, the sale of the medical group in which he was a partner provided a substantial liquidity event, enabling Dr. Lipman to embark on the next stage of his life—as a philanthropist.

A Partnership That Grows

His brother, Alan Lipman—a financial advisor, longtime Foundation donor, and former Foundation Advisory Board member—encouraged Leonard to open a fund at The Foundation to conduct his philanthropy more strategically. In late 2012, Dr. Lipman established a Donor Advised Fund to fulfill his charitable ambitions. This also generated significant tax benefits which offset his income windfall. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Lipman implemented his first significant gift—a diabetes treatment and management program for low-income individuals. After years of caring for patients, Dr. Lipman knew the impact this type of program could have to improve the lives of countless people. He just needed the right partner to make sure it was implemented effectively.

Key Takeaways

• When launching new programs, enlist the guidance of trusted partners like the Jewish Community Foundation that have successfully seeded new programs for many years.

• Carefully crafted grant agreements with benchmarks can help to ensure that donors and grantees are aligned.

• We work with you and your advisor(s) to manage complex gifts, create charitable funds through liquidity events, and maximize tax savings.

The Impact of Designed Philanthropy

Dr. Lipman had a longtime association with Mayer Davidson, M.D., a co-founder of the Venice Family Clinic and a world-renowned specialist in diabetes management. Dr. Davidson had developed a very successful diabetes treatment program for low-income patients at the Charles Drew School of Medicine. Still, the Venice Family Clinic lacked the financial resources to implement this program. However, its strong organizational infrastructure and quality services gave Dr. Lipman confidence that, through sufficient funding, a viable program could be developed in this setting.

In collaboration with the clinic, he decided to fund a treatment and management program for patients most severely affected by diabetes. Dr. Lipman turned to The Foundation’s Center for Designed Philanthropy to develop a formal grant agreement and establish clear performance benchmarks. This enabled him to monitor the success of his initiative. It also ensured that his expectations were in alignment with what was expected of the grant recipient. This gave him the confidence to provide a generous grant to create the Leonard M. Lipman Diabetes Management Program at Venice Family Clinic.

Dr. Lipman’s grant has provided for an additional diabetes nurse practitioner, a patient-education specialist and resource materials, blood sugar testing strips, and computer software for case tracking. Since launching in 2013, more than 1,000 patient treatments have been administered.

In addition to his grant to the Venice Family Clinic, Dr. Lipman has given grants to establish a Spanish language satellite program at the Our House Grief Counseling Center, Beit T’Shuvah’s intensive outpatient treatment program, and The Broad Stage at Santa Monica College’s Family Circle program, which provides concert-going experiences to underserved children and their families. Through Dr. Lipman’s passionate pursuit of innovative treatment techniques and compassion for low-income individuals, he has accomplished and exceeded his philanthropic goals.