The Irmas family funded a major addition to Los Angeles’ Wilshire Boulevard Temple. Photo: Galina Savina/shutterstock

The Irmas family funded a major addition to Los Angeles’ Wilshire Boulevard Temple. Photo: Galina Savina/shutterstock

In Los Angeles, it pays to be familiar not only with the big philanthropic players, but also with quieter givers that aren’t necessarily on every nonprofit’s radar. The Audrey and Sydney Irmas Charitable Foundation is a good example. Not only does the Irmas family give locally in Los Angeles; they’re also open to learning about new ideas from smaller and emerging groups.

Founded by an Art Collector and a Lawyer

Audrey Irmas has deep roots in the Los Angeles community. She is a native of Los Angeles and attended Fairfax High School and UCLA, where she met Sydney Irmas, her future husband. Audrey Irmas is best known as an arts patron, art collector and philanthropist, while Sydney Irmas, now deceased, was an attorney. Audrey has served as president and chair of the board of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, and the couple created a youth center for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in the 1990s.

These days, the couple’s son, Matthew, has begun taking over the family philanthropy. Professionally, he has been involved in the real estate and entertainment industries. At this time, he is also the primary person to contact about grant opportunities at the Audrey and Sydney Irmas Charitable Foundation.

Jewish Causes Are a Top Priority

Over the years, Audrey and Sydney Irmas have been major funders of Jewish causes at the local level. They have provided significant support to the Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles and created the Audrey Irmas Pavilion there with a $30 million grant. Other support has gone to the American Jewish World Service, Jewish Big Brothers and Sisters of Los Angeles and Bet Tzedek.

There Is a Separate Social Justice Foundation

Social justice is also a major interest of the Irmas family, which they fund through a separate foundation.  In 2007, Audrey Imas created the Audrey Irmas Foundation for Social Justice after her husband’s death to address more targeted social justice programs. Through both of these foundations, Irmas’ interests touch on human services, education, youth development and the Jewish community.

It Accepts Unsolicited Grant Applications

Los Angeles-area grantseekers will be pleased to know that the Audrey and Sydney Irmas Charitable Foundation accepts unsolicited grant requests with no submission deadlines, restrictions or limitations. Interested groups may simply include the relevant information in a letter and send it to the attention of Audrey and Sydney’s son, Matthew Irmas, in Los Angeles. This is a good funder to know for general operating funds, with grants spanning the $1,000 to $100,000 range. Grantseekers are also encouraged to contact Matthew Irmas by phone to ask questions about the grant application process, since the foundation lacks a website.

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