Patrick P. Lee Foundation

The Early Years (2007-2015)

Since its inception in 2007, the Lee family has played an integral role in guiding the strategic direction of the Patrick P. Lee Foundation.  Lee serves as Chairman of the Board, his wife, Cynthia R. Lee, and three of his children, Barbara Rhee, Jennifer Lee McNamara and Christopher Lee, serve on the Board of Directors. It is Lee’s intention that his three grandchildren and any future great grandchildren will carry on the family’s legacy by serving on the Foundation Board.


At the time the Lee Foundation was established, the United States was on the precipice of one of the worst economic recessions since the Great Depression.  People were losing their jobs, home foreclosures were on the rise and nonprofits were struggling to meet the growing demand for services. Recognizing the urgency of the situation and in response to the critical needs of the community, the Lee Foundation established four broad focus areas - Education, Medical Care & Research, Behavioral Health, and Human & Community Services.


This approach enabled the Foundation to support nationally recognized research institutions committed to innovation in medical treatment, such as Roswell Park Cancer Institution.  While at the same time, developing partnerships with smaller community based organizations, like Friends of Night People, that addressed the basic human needs of our most vulnerable.


A More Targeted Approach (2016-present)

2016 was a pivotal year for the Lee Foundation. During it, the Foundation Board and staff studied, researched and reevaluated the grant making program. The self-examination included meetings with past and present grantees, industry experts, service providers and fellow grant makers. The objective was to understand more fully the impact of funding decisions and identify where community investments could be most effective. In the end, the decision was made to transition from four focus areas to two - education and mental health.  By targeting funds and identifying opportunity for cross-systems work, the Foundation seeks to have immediate and measurable impact. 


To honor Lee’s career, the Foundation funds scholarships for engineering students with the goal of promoting education of the engineering mindset and assisting in successful manufacturing endeavors within the United States. The Foundation also supports professionals in the mental health field as well as and other post-secondary educational opportunities that result in job realization and economic self-sufficiency. 


The decision to focus on Mental Health was personal for Patrick Lee and his family. The diagnosis of a family member with schizophrenia impacted their lives and they struggled to find appropriate care, treatment, and services. Their experience demonstrated the deficiency of mental health resources so the Foundation Board committed to raising awareness of serious mental illness and increasing public support for mental health services.


As the Foundation Board continues the critical work of the Foundation, Lee recognizes the important role they will play.  They must be honest, of integrity, committed to philanthropy and willing to serve. He hopes they will be passionate about the Foundation’s work, wise with the funds and loyal to the mission.