Leon Levine started The Leon Levine Foundation (TLLF) in 1980 with a modest sum of money. Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Family Dollar Stores, Inc., Leon viewed the foundation as an avenue for giving back to the communities that generated his success in the retail industry. He and his wife, Sandra, have always been philanthropically inclined, and it is their desire to invest thoughtfully and intentionally in organizations improving the human condition for people across North and South Carolina.
Since his retirement from Family Dollar in 2003, Leon has forged a second career out of building TLLF into one of the region’s largest and most impactful grantmaking entities. Over time, his contributions to the foundation have grown substantially; at present, TLLF’s assets total more than $500 million.
The impact of these dollars is evidenced by TLLF’s investments in nonprofit agencies spanning five mission areas: human services, education, healthcare, Jewish values, and community. Many of the foundation’s grantmaking strategies are guided by practices that Leon implemented as a businessman. In fact, during his retail career, Leon coined the phrase “polishing the stone” to convey his belief that continuous improvement paves the way to lasting success. This is why TLLF believes in partnering with innovative nonprofits that maintain strong leadership, sustainable operations, and a proven track record.
When it comes to the vision behind TLLF, Leon himself puts it best:
“Hard-working, motivated individuals are denied equal access to employment, healthcare, education, and culture far too often. It is my hope that The Leon Levine Foundation continues to open doors for people who seek better lives for themselves and their families…I can say with confidence that our team of grantmakers has indeed opened many doors, not just here in Charlotte where we’re based, but throughout the Carolinas.”