Elliot Leonard was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. By the time Elliot reached his 20th birthday, he had already lost both of his parents to cancer. Independent at a relatively early age, Elliot relied on courage and grit to succeed. He focused on his education, first graduating from Brooklyn College, and then earning a Juris Doctor degree (J.D.) from UCLA.
Elliot’s early law practice focused on corporate and real estate law. Because of his successful client advocacy, Elliot was invited to serve on many boards in the recreational vehicle and healthcare industries. Elliot also became involved in residential and commercial property development in California, which led to the most recent expansion of his professional portfolio: a principal founding member of the largest roofing and solar subcontractor company in the state.
His professional successes have enriched Elliot in many ways, and now, Elliot finds himself “astonished and thrilled to be able to fund the Leonard-Litz Foundation.” The Leonard-Litz Foundation is not Elliot’s first foray into philanthropy. While living in California, he was an active supporter of the GLSEN organization that is dedicated to enhancing the K-12 educational experience of LBGTQ youth. Elliot also served on the board of the Orange County LGBTQ Center. His financial support of LGBTQ- focused nonprofit organizations extends beyond California’s borders, with additional donations to many organizations including Lambda Legal and the ACLU in support of their LGBTQ initiatives.
After moving back to Connecticut, Elliot wanted to reengage with the local LGBTQ nonprofit sector, and he soon became a donor to and eventual board member of the Triangle Community Center, which empowers and advocates for LGBTQ people in Connecticut through programming focused on health, community and learning. This experience deepened his awareness of the profound needs within the LGBTQ community for programs and services to ensure that every member has the help they need to live their best lives. Witnessing firsthand the fundraising burden placed on the staff at TCC helped clarify Elliot’s next venture—The Leonard-Litz Foundation—focused on philanthropic giving to nonprofit organizations doing important and necessary work to help the northeast region’s LGBTQ community. Elliot will work actively with his Foundation’s trustees to review grant requests, select grantees, and measure the positive outcomes achieved as a result of the Leonard-Litz Foundation’s grants.
Over the last fifty years, throughout Elliot’s various professional adventures and multiple cross-country moves, he has been accompanied by Roger Litz, his beloved partner. Together they have built several modernist homes, nurtured many pets, established countless beautiful gardens, and immersed themselves in the cultural riches of opera and contemporary art. Living openly as a couple, they have been courageous pioneers in the LGBTQ community, facing challenges, overcoming prejudices and enduring to this day as role models for living life with integrity, beauty, love, grace and resilience.
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