The Bernard F. and Alva B. Gimbel Foundation, Inc. was incorporated in 1943 as a private, family foundation. The Foundation’s donors had wide ranging philanthropic interests and the Foundation’s original giving guidelines were defined broadly: grants were to be used for “charitable, scientific or educational purposes.” The Foundation’s areas of interest have evolved over the years and are now more narrowly defined. Current areas of funding include the environment, criminal justice, economic development, reproductive rights, and civil legal services.

In most program areas, the Foundation seeks to fund both direct services programs and advocacy efforts. The Foundation’s support for direct services programs is limited to those operating in New York City.