Our Mission & History


We provide grants and strategic support to nonprofit partner organizations throughout all five boroughs. We are a 501c3 public charity, and we fund our programs with donations from generous corporate and individual supporters.

The Foundation honors the memory of advertising executive John A. Reisenbach, who was the victim of a random and senseless murder in Greenwich Village in 1990. In the wake of this tragedy, John’s friends and colleagues in the advertising and media industries created the Foundation to promote safety, security, and a high quality of life throughout New York. The Foundation remains rooted in the advertising and media communities, and with the generous support of these industries our reach has grown to encompass partnerships with donors and grantees across the city.

Our Vision

We believe all of New York City’s residents, workers, and visitors should enjoy safety, security, and a high quality of life. Through grants and strategic partnerships, we address systemic problems such as unequal access to education and job training that keep individuals vulnerable and that contribute to poverty and crime. 


  • Respect for all people in New York and dedication to their happiness, safety, and well-being;
  • Creativity, nimbleness, and responsiveness to needs in alignment with our mission and program areas;
  • Inclusiveness and representation in our partnerships and grantmaking;
  • Accountability to our donors and grantees, and responsible stewardship of our resources.

Our Mission is to make New York City a better and safer place to live and work.

Our Focus Areas

Youth and

Housing and

Justice and

Pandemic Relief

John A. Reisenbach
(1956 - 1990) 

John’s friends say that he represented the qualities of “every decent and “ordinary guy” you’ve ever worked with or known. He was passionate and stubborn, sarcastic and silly, always caring and always professional. A graduate of Northwestern University, John moved to New York City in 1978 and married his college sweetheart Victoria Nelson the following year. John began his career as a media planner at Ogilvy & Mather, moved to Backer & Spielvogel in 1982, and joined all American Television in 1987 as senior vice president and director of advertising sales, where he more than tripled sales. While John might view the formation of the John A. Reisenbach Foundation with a good deal of amazement, he would be gratified to know that so many have come together to honor his memory. And we are sure he would be proud of the many fine things that have been accomplished in his name.


Sandy Reisenbach, father of John Reisenbach, was a founding patron of the Foundation. Sandy wanted the Foundation to be John’s living memorial, and he was gratified that our organization’s ongoing work gave friends, family, and business colleagues a vision of a better future when they thought of John. In the New York and Hollywood media communities, Sandy was a legendary figure whose expertise and finesse in the marketing of motion pictures was the pride of Warner Bros. and the envy of the rest of the advertising business. But we knew him as a friend and benefactor whose passion for our mission was born of the most unimaginable tragedy a father can bear. From the beginning, Sandy was Chairman of Board of Advisors. He took immense pride in the work of the Reisenbach Foundation, and he was always aware of every detail of our activities and that of our partner organizations. As he said at our 20th Anniversary Gala in 2011, “if we can keep just one father from having to get the phone call that I got in the middle of the night, we have made a difference.”

Founding Members (1991)

George Back
Peter Chrisanthopoulos
Alec Gerster
Phil Howort
Dick Hubert
George Karalekas
Leonard Koch

Robert W. C. Lilley
Jon Mandel
Fran Reiter
Barbara Reisenbach
Vicki Reisenbach
James H. Rosenfield

Larry Schatz
Henry Siegel
Arnie Semsky
Robert Silberberg
Jayne Wallace
Marc Wallace
Michael Weiden