The Marcus Foundation
The Marcus Foundation
Advancing Sustainability and
Enhancing Community Food Resources


The Marcus Foundation funds and partners with organizations that are making a difference in the delivery of community food resources or are expanding the understanding and implementation of sustainability.

The Foundation understands community food resources to encompass a web of issues related to hunger, including poverty, community development and economic policy.

Sustainability is both a principle and a practice that obliges us to carefully consider the consequences of today's actions on the future.


The Marcus Foundation was created in 2009 when it became independent from The Grace R. and Alan D. Marcus Foundation that was originally founded in 1990. Both foundations continue to share fundamental values, operating principles and commitments.

Alan Marcus, a corporate and estates attorney, worked closely with Theodore P. Halperin and Daniel Soba (original trustees of the Foundation). Mr. Marcus served in the United States Army during World War II, was an avid fisherman, particularly in the Rangeley Lakes in Maine, and an accomplished painter. He began painting after returning from the War in 1945 because he felt it was a "sort of occupational therapy" (LIFE Magazine, April 5, 1948) and he often produced 20-30 paintings a year. Mr. Marcus was instrumental in organizing art shows though the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.

Early grantees of the Foundation included 92nd Street Y, Museum of the City of New York, the New York Public Library, City Harvest, The Hastings Center, The Humane Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, Riverside Park Fund, and The Riverdale Mental Health Association. In 2009, the Grace R. and Alan D. Marcus Foundation was divided into two separate foundations, one of which is now The Marcus Foundation with office trustees in Denver and Washington DC.

In 2012, The Marcus Foundation began a strategic evaluation of priorities, values, and operations with the goal of leveraging our resources to enhance positive impact. We are committed to addressing issues in sustainability and community food resources with partners whose values and professional working styles are compatible with ours.

Leadership and Governance

Amy Halperin Wood and Jonathan J. Halperin serve as trustees of The Marcus Foundation. Summaries of their relevant professional experiences are below.

Amy Halperin Wood was most recently the Director of Public Policy at Jewish Family Service (JFS) of Colorado where she managed advocacy and policy liaison, collaboration among social service agencies and assessment of community needs.

Prior to that she was the Director of the Family Safety Net Program at JFS overseeing emergency assistance for homeless prevention, a food pantry, management of state and federal grants, as well as individualized programs to address self-sufficiency issues. Under her stewardship the Family Safety Net department expanded significantly and became a leader in the community in developing best practices in homeless prevention and food pantry management.

In addition to her current leadership role with The Marcus Foundation, Ms. Wood has also worked at Volunteers of America in Denver, at Group W Cable in New York City and at the DeKalb Farmers' Market and Houston's Restaurants in Atlanta.

She grew up in New York City, attended Swarthmore College (BA), The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (MBA) and the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver (MSW).

She believes that ending hunger requires providing immediate food resources, encouraging self-sufficiency and making fundamental and operational changes in the food distribution system.

Ms. Wood lives in Denver and has two sons.

Jonathan J. Halperin is founder and President of Designing Sustainability. He collaborates with business executives, nonprofit and public policy leaders, and creative media producers - designing research, communications and strategies to drive sustainability. He has more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit and commercial organizations such as SustainAbility, Ltd., Resources for the Future, and FYI Resources for a Changing World.

He has provided research-based strategic counsel to executives at Chevron, Hewlett-Packard, Nestle, Exxon-Mobil, DuPont and other major multinational firms as well as to nonprofit organizations such as GreenHome, Mundo Verde The Washington Center for Psychoanalysis, and Everyday Democracy. He served as executive producer of Hope in a Changing Climate, the award-winning documentary on ecosystem restoration that aired on BBC World.

He is a graduate of Duke University and lives with his two children near Washington, DC.


Health & Food: Is Better Food the Prescription for a Healthier America?
October 2014

Hungry for Change Summit
October 2012
- Collaborating to Fight Hunger in Colorado

A Crisis in Confidence: Creating a Better, More Sustainable Food World We Can Trust
October 2012
- Inspiring Thought Leaders to Build Trust

Aspen Ideas Festival
June 2012
- Creative Ideas and Concrete Opportunities

Family Philanthropy Conference
February 2012
- Executive Forum on Managing Foundation Resources

Aspen Ideas Festival
June 2011
- Exploring Innovation and Social Change

Planning for Impact
March 2011
- Guidance on Effective Grantmaking