The Foundation’s Legacy Statement
by Frederick Henry Leonhardt II
The Foundation was incorporated in the state of New York on August 18th, 1953. On April 25th, 1955, the Foundation received its IRS ruling letter establishing the Foundation as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization. Frederick Henry Leonhardt (Fritz), an organic chemist who spent many years working in the essential oils, flavors, and fragrances industry, established the Foundation as the philanthropic extension to his company, Fritzsche Brothers. Fritz wanted to bring the philosophy of the Fritzsche Brothers corporate culture to the world of philanthropy. The Fritzsche Brothers corporate philosophy embraced the idea that technological advance should always support people in their attempts to create local and geographically embodied forms of home and belonging. As an example, in the late 1880s, Fritzsche Brothers added one of the first “rope and pulley” elevators to its physical plant as it also added women to its workforce (both unheard of at the time). To work at Fritzsche Brothers was to work for the “Fritzsche family.” Fritz insisted that in addition to having ideal working conditions, every member of the Fritzsche family should enjoy as much security and protection as is financially possible for the firm to provide. Fritz’s wife, Anna M. Leonhardt (Peggy) served as the Foundation’s first president. Fritz created the Foundation as a way of “improving the physical, mental, and moral condition of mankind by voluntarily rendering aid to religious, charitable, and educational institutions” (quoting from the original certificate of incorporation).
After Fritz and Peggy passed away, their children, Frederick Junior and Dorthea, spent many years involved with the Foundation. Today Frederick H. Leonhardt II (Fritz’s namesake) is carrying on the philanthropic tradition started by Fritz and Peggy over fifty years ago. Although much has changed in fifty years, the Foundation preserves the legacy of Fritz and Peggy, Fritzsche Brothers, and the entire Leonhardt family. The Foundation endeavors to carry on the work of Fritz Leonhardt to provide for increased levels of security and protection for individuals, families, and communities by using attachment theory as a guide to its grantmaking activities. In addition, the Foundation brings the Fritzsche corporate culture to the world of philanthropy by maintaining a focus on appropriately using technology to balance the delicate ecology of commerce, culture, and community.
Feel free to read the Testimonial to Frederick Henry Leonhardt on the occasion of his sixtieth anniversary with Fritzsche Brothers, Inc., Saturday, April 17th, 1954, by clicking on the link you just passed. This testimonial provides a candid glimpse inside the life and times of the Foundation’s founder and his family. This testimonial also reveals much about the origins of the Foundation’s current mission, vision, and aim.