Our Mission & Values

“We have the power to change things. It doesn’t take much to start a revolution of thought and spirit. It takes one person and then another. When it works, it’s a work of art.”
– Lenny Zakim, Founder

The Lenny Zakim Fund works to develop deep relationships and builds bridges among people and communities to advance social, economic, and racial justice. Our mission is to listen those most impacted by inequity and provide the funding, essential resources, and support they need to create lasting change.




Values Statements

The work of the Lenny Zakim Fund is guided by the following principles
Social Justice: All that we do is based in our deeply held belief that social justice is equity and that the fundamental rights, well-being and dignity of all people must be recognized, upheld, and celebrated.

Grassroots leadership: LZF is inspired by and respects the power and ability of those most impacted by injustice to bring about change.

Diversity and belonging: We embrace a culture of inclusion and belonging, one that seeks out and welcomes the voices of those with diverse life experiences and intersectional identities.

Learning: We firmly believe that continuous, active and reciprocal learning is critical to promoting awareness and creating a solid foundation for change.

Bridge Building: We are committed to bridging real and perceived difference, and to creating strong and lasting relationships that are fundamental to progress.

Responsiveness: Emerging challenges that impact those we serve require an acceptance of risk and an ability to adapt and respond as rapidly as possible.

Love: Love is at the heart of philanthropy. Love and compassion motivate and sustain the spirit of those who partner with LZF and remain dedicated to justice for all.

Celebrating 23 Years of Growing the Grassroots

We honor his memory, not by this beautiful bridge… but by continuing on in his fight for social justice.

Bruce Springsteen

Inspired by his courage

and determination

Leonard P. Zakim (1953-1999)

Lenny Zakim believed that one person can change the world. As exemplified by the iconic bridge that bears his name, his dedication to building connections and coalitions between people of different faiths, ethnicities, and socio-economic backgrounds continues to have impact today, around Greater Boston and far beyond. For twenty years, as a civil rights leader, Lenny fought tirelessly to put an end to racism, anti-Semitism, civil rights violations, and hatred of all kinds.

The Lenny Zakim Fund is only one example of Lenny’s profound ability to promote change.

In 1995, shortly after being diagnosed with a rare cancer, Lenny worked with friends and other generous donors to establish The Lenny Fund ™. With a deep personal belief that extraordinary social change could be created at the grassroots level by advocating personal empowerment and community partnership, the mission was clear: They have the will. They have the creativity, but they lack the means. We give them the means. Today, The Lenny Zakim Fund continues to symbolize the work of an exceptional man who dedicated his life toward shaping a better society, one in which justice prevails and human differences are celebrated.


The Lenny Zakim Fund was launched by Lenny, not as a family foundation, but as a 501c3 public charity. With a highly efficient and talented three-person staff, LZF receives pro bono office space, accounting and audit, administrative and IT support, as well as donated services for communications, design, and printing. Grant allocation, management assistance, fundraising, and more are accomplished through the active, hands-on engagement of a volunteer Board of Directors.

Allison Picott

Executive Director

A seasoned nonprofit professional, Allison comes to the Lenny Zakim Fund from the Social Innovation Forum where she served as Director of Development. Her work experience includes positions as a frontline fundraiser for Phillips Academy Andover, the Walnut Hill School and Boston College Law School, a development consultant with the Wayland Group, and founder and principal of Advancement Advisers. A graduate of Phillips Academy Andover, Trinity College, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Allison began as a law clerk with the Massachusetts Superior Court and a lawyer with Nixon Peabody and Prince Lobel Tye. Allison currently serves as a director of the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a member of Phillips Academy’s Board of Trustees, and vice president of the Empire Loan Charitable Foundation. She has the proud distinction of being the youngest recipient of Andover’s Distinguish Service Award and the first African American alumna to serve on Andover’s Board of Trustees. A long-time resident of Boston’s South End, Allison enjoys walks with her dogs, cooking, traveling, and boxing.

Dominique Ramos

Program Officer

Dominique Cortes-Ramos joined the Lenny Zakim Fund in 2019, inspired by LZF’s grassroots-oriented mission. Born in Texas to immigrant parents, Dominique has called Boston and Western Mass. home since the age of 5. Dominique holds an MA in Sustainable International Development and an MS in Global Health Policy and Management from the Heller School at Brandeis University, in addition to completing a fellowship with the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation. Dominique can be found playing horror video games, taking long meditative walks, or hopping from pastry shop to pastry shop.

Sofia Cassim

Program and Development Intern

Sophia Cassim, a current second year Public Health student with a minor in Law and Public Policy, has come to join The Lenny Zakim Fund as its first Northeastern co-op Program and Development Intern. Born in Georgia and raised in Brookline where she attended Brookline High School, Sophia has long called Boston her home. Sophia has had various experiences working within the social justice and advocacy setting as she brings her unique perspective to the table. As an individual passionate about achieving healthcare equity and providing a voice for those who have been mistreated by the system through the power of education and policy, LZF is the perfect opportunity for Sophia to embrace her passion. Sophia enjoys reading, going to the gym, and hanging out with friends/family.


Lenny Zakim


Tim James


Michael Eckton


Rob Sherman


Josh Zakim

Lilee Dethchan

Lisa Gordon

Felicia Heywood

Mark Irvings


Suzi Kaitz

Joe Rodio

Erika Rodriguez

Jill Snider

Loren Van Allen

Aprylle Wallace

Shari Zakim-Yacouby

Deena Zakim

Joyce Zakim

The Bridge Builders honors and recognizes contributions from our most exemplary, superstar supporters because of their long-term commitment to The Lenny Zakim Fund

Mahesh Aditya

Richard Caturano

Alan Chebot

Elizabeth DeLima

Michael Eckton

Cheryl Forte

Josie Greene

Kal Heller

Barbara Howard

Drew Hyman

Carol Kanin

In memoriam: Richard Balzer, Gill Fishman, Christina Caturano Ryan, and Jonathan Samen

Douglas Krupp

Bobby Sager

Bob Weinberg

Amy Shulman Weinberg

Jerry Wishnow

Board members emeritus honors those who have shown outstanding leadership, commitment, and generosity while serving on the Lenny Zakim Fund board.

Miki Akimoto

Jennifer Winn Aronson

Mary Carty

Clementina Chery

Gregg Croteau

Yasmin Cruz-Ferrine

Beth Dill

Janice Ditchek

Asmaa Donahue

Eric Esteves, Former Executive Director


Donna Gittens

Jude Goldman, Former Executive Director

Steve Grossman

Angela Johnson

Caren Keller

Judi Krupp

Richard Krupp

Sofia Lingos-Papaliodis

Ron Marlow

Amy Belkin Mofenson

Charlayne Murrell-Smith


Kevin O’Malley

Celeste Reid-Lee

Gabriela Romanow

Glenn Rothman

Susan Rothman

Elaine Sager

Harold Schwartz

Sam Slater

Mark Sokoll

Ellie Starr