Wallis Annenberg is a visionary who uses philanthropy as a powerful instrument to improve the well-being of people and communities, not only by addressing vexing societal problems, but also by creating new pathways to fulfillment, excellence, and success. As she has said, “I’ve tried to focus not just on giving, but on innovating.”
Her innovative giving ranges from education to arts and culture, from medical research to environmental stewardship, from social justice to animal welfare — always guided by the Annenberg Foundation’s core values of community, diversity, and fairness.
Since assuming chairmanship of the Foundation in 2009, Wallis’ muscular philanthropy has impacted more than 2,300 nonprofits and other organizations. She has also funded special projects that expand the boundaries of traditional philanthropy.
For instance, she created the Annenberg Space for Photography in Century City, the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica, The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, the Universally-Accessible Treehouse in Torrance, and, opening near downtown next year, the Wallis Annenberg Center for Purposeful Aging, which will provide a next-generation community center for seniors.
She also has poured her lifelong appreciation for the human-animal bond into the Wallis Annenberg PetSpace in Playa Vista — a one-of-a-kind destination devoted to facilitating rescue animal adoptions, funding education initiatives and academic research — and providing fun for visitors.
She created AnnenbergTech and PledgeLA to encourage and educate members of LA’s burgeoning tech sector to be guided by the principles of diversity and inclusion as they expand and to get involved in philanthropy themselves.
Wallis is the longest-serving trustee at the University of Southern California and has been honored by numerous organizations, such as the Kennedy Center, Americans for the Arts, the Shoah Foundation, and the California African American Museum. She serves on a number of boards, including LA’s Museum of Contemporary Art, the California Science Center, the Music Center and the Performing Arts Center, the LA Philharmonic, the LA County Museum of Art, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
She is the proud mother of four children and five grandchildren.