In 1932, Henry Ittleson, the founder of CIT Financial Corporation, established the Ittleson Foundation. He served as presiding trustee of the Foundation, and his wife Blanche F. Ittleson, and their son Henry Ittleson Jr., as trustees, continued in their respective roles until 1948.
In that year Mr. Ittleson died and Henry Ittleson, Jr. became the presiding trustee. At that time Mrs. Henry Ittleson, Jr. joined the Foundation as a trustee.
In 1948, under the leadership of Blanche F. Ittleson and Henry Ittleson, Jr., the Foundation began to focus its interests on the fields of health, welfare, public education for mental health, and intercultural relations. Within these major interests, special emphasis was placed on mental health and the mental, physical, and social well-being of children. Over the years other issues, such as the needs of the elderly, homelessness, and crime and justice, have received the Foundation’s attention. Today the Foundation’s areas of particular interest are: mental health, AIDS, and the environment.
With the death of Henry Ittleson, Jr. in 1973, H. Anthony Ittleson, grandson of the founder and a trustee since 1966, became Chairman and President of the Foundation. Under his stewardship the Foundation has continued its signature role of providing seed money for new ideas and initiatives by supporting pilot projects, demonstration projects, and applied research.
The Foundation has a long tradition of active grant making and has been fortunate in the high quality of its executive staff leadership in the persons of Nina Ridenour (1952-67), William T. Beaty, II, (1967-88), David M. Nee (1988-93), and Anthony C. Wood (1993-). Since its founding, the Foundation has also benefited from the insights of a variety of distinguished trustees.
Today the Foundation, its trustees and staff continue to build on the philanthropic foundation laid by its founder and developed with skill and devotion by his wife Blanche F. Ittleson and their son, Henry Ittleson, Jr.