What We Do

Founded in 1997, the Saul Zaentz Charitable Foundation (the “Foundation”) primarily invests in programs to improve outcomes for poor and vulnerable minority citizens in the United States.

In carrying out its mission, the Foundation makes gifts, grants, donations and charitable contributions to public charities for charitable purposes (within the meaning of Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code) that are primarily focused on opportunities for educational advancement.


The Foundation supports programs that assist the homeless, advance early childhood education, improve K-12 graduation rates, provide college scholarships, medical care, shelter and nutrition to the needy as well as supporting programs to provide assistance for entry into employment opportunities.


The Foundation is deeply committed to creating standards of fairness and a level playing field for those living in poverty and adversity by supporting equal treatment through high quality early childhood learning and improving
K-12 and college graduation rates. In this regard, the Foundation supports innovations in scientific teaching methods and best practices.


The Saul Zaentz Charitable Foundation has produced two documentary films on early childhood education, Starting at Zero and Tomorrow’s Hope.

Starting at Zero explores the power of investing in high-quality early childhood education so that all children and families have the opportunity to attain the American Dream.

The film brings together the voices of policymakers, educators, academics, business leaders, pediatricians, parents, and children. It features five current and past governors who are champions of early childhood education: Governors Steve Bullock of Montana, Kay Ivey of Alabama, and Ralph Northam of Virginia, as well as former Governors Jim Hunt of North Carolina, and Phil Bryant of Mississippi. At the heart of the film is the affirmation that if children are given the opportunity to thrive in settings with caring, responsive adults, the returns to our society will be deep and long-lasting.

Learn more about the film and RSVP for the August 12th Virtual World Premiere at the Starting at Zero website.

Tomorrow’s Hope brings us into the journey of passionate educators and tenacious kids and their families on the south side of Chicago, determined to carve out the future despite a sea of incredible challenges.

In the film we reunite with three present-day high school seniors who had started out in the Educare preschool’s first-ever class, exploring the continuing effects of early childhood education as they navigate their way through difficult circumstances.Tomorrow’s Hope was produced by The Saul Zaentz Foundation which builds on the thoughtful legacy of three-time Best Picture winner Saul Zaentz’s astounding career as an independent media entrepreneur. The Foundation is primarily concerned with working to improve outcomes for poor and vulnerable minority children in the US.

Funding Criteria

The foundation does not accept solicitations nor does it engage in fund raising activities or accept contributions from third parties.

In general, the Foundation supports organization within these fields that are capable of scaling-up their activities and adapting strategies to changing circumstances. Our goal is to create a meaningful, impactful opportunity for dignity and success among those citizens the Foundation serves.

About Saul Zaentz

Saul Zaentz was a media entrepreneur in the music and film industry. He built the largest independent Jazz record label in the world, Fantasy Records and, through the Saul Zaentz Company, became a prominent independent film producer. His creative activities in film resulted in 34 Academy Award nominations, the award of 22 Hollywood Oscars for those involved in the film making process (including three for “Best Picture”). Among other films, his major works included One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus, The English Patient and
The Unbearable Lightness of Being.


The British Academy of Film and Television awarded Mr. Zaentz the Academy Fellowship, the highest honor awarded by the Academy to individuals for their achievement. He also earned the prestigious Irving G. Thalberg memorial award for his “Consistently High Quality of Motion Picture Production”.


What distinguished Saul Zaentz in the entertainment industry was his bold action in selecting artists and projects and his willingness to take substantial risks in advancing his productions.


Fantasy Records was acquired by the Concord Music Group in 2004, and the Saul Zaentz Company continues to administer a large body of film related copyrighted materials including the non-literary rights to the Tolkien series, Lord of the Rings. Mr. Zaentz died in 2014.

The Zaentz Initiative

In July 2016, the Harvard Graduate School of Education launched the Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative, with a generous gift from the Saul Zaentz Charitable Foundation. The initiative expresses the commitment of Saul Zaentz, an acclaimed music and film producer, to education and social justice.

The Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative promotes the knowledge, professional learning, and collective action necessary to cultivate optimal early learning environments and experiences.


Saul Zaentz Charitable Foundation
c/o Elliot G. Steinberg Esq.
Phone: 970.728.4343
Email: elliot@saulzaentzcharitablefoundation.org