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.

Jude Goldman

Executive Director

Executive Director Jude Goldman joined The Lenny Zakim Fund in 2006 following her position as Executive Director of the Massachusetts School-Age Coalition. A corporate refugee, Jude enjoyed a 24-year career in printing and publishing. Her last private sector position was as a Vice President for a division of Times Mirror. Originally from Wakefield, MA, she is a longtime resident of Roslindale where she lives with her husband, photographer and humorist Ed Braverman, and Rocket J. Cat. Jude holds a BA from Emerson College and a Certificate in Offset and Letterpress Printing from Boston Evening Trade School. Her profound commitment to social justice was inspired by two civil rights heroes, her childhood mentor, W. Haywood Burns, and Lenny Zakim.

Sue Heilman

Interim Executive Director

Sue Heilman began serving as Interim Executive Director in early September 2019. She has served in similar roles for a number of social justice organizations in the Boston area in recent years, and prior to that was the Executive Director of Horizons for Homeless Children for more than 18 years, where she received a grant from “The Lenny Fund”, as it was then called, in 1995!

Dominique Ramos

Program and Office Administrator

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 is inspired daily by the communities that work together to promote growth, equity, and justice in their environment.


Lenny Zakim


Suzi Kaitz


Yasmin Cruz


Beth Dill


Lisa Gordon

Miki Akimoto

Mary Carty

Clementina Chery

Gregg Croteau

Janice Ditchek

Timothy James

Caren Keller

Sofia Lingos-Papaliodis

Joe Rodio

Gabriela Romanow

Elaine Sager

Robert P. Sherman

Sam Slater

Shari Zakim-Yacouby

Deena Zakim

Josh 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

Kelly Bleck

Patricia Burns

Richard Caturano

Alan Chebot

Michael Eckton

Michael Ferraro

Cheryl Forte

Alex Garnick

Joseph Goodman

Josie Greene

Kal Heller

Barbara Howard

Drew Hyman

Angela Johnson

Mark Irvings

Carol Kanin

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

Douglas Krupp

Richard Krupp

Jordan Rich

Bob Romanow

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.

Jennifer Winn Aronson

Donna Gittens

Steve Grossman

Judi Krupp

Amy Belkin Mofenson

Charlayne Murrell-Smith

Kevin O’Malley

Celeste Reid-Lee

Harold Schwartz

Glenn Rothman

Susan Rothman

Mark Sokoll

Ellie Starr