Non-profit

Zolla Family Foundation

Location:

Santa Monica, CA

Tax ID:

52-2365200

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2020):

Revenue: $577,893
Expenses: $589,418
Assets: $3,979,876

Type:

Private Foundation

Founded:

2001

President:

Susan Zolla

Latest Tax Form:

2021 990 Form

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The Zolla Family Foundation is the family foundation of late Southern California construction company owner and real estate developer Edward M. Zolla III and his wife, Susan Zolla.

For most of its existence, the foundation’s giving was largely focused on supporting low-income education and cultural charities in the Los Angeles region. In 2020, it departed from this philanthropic program with a major grant to the left-of-center Voter Registration Project. 1

History and Founders

The Zolla Family Foundation was created in 2001 by Edward M. Zolla III and his wife, Susan Zolla. Edward, who died in 2006, was a construction and property management company owner, real estate developer and investor in Southern California. 2

Since her husband’s death, Susan Zolla has been an active donor to Democratic Party politicians and aligned organizations, including EMILY’s List, the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). 3

Relationship with Garcetti Political Dynasty

Edward and Susan Zolla were closely connected to former Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti and his son, former Los Angeles Mayor and Biden administration U.S. Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti. In 1992, the Los Angeles Times included Edward Zolla in a list of influential donors to Gil Garcetti’s successful campaign for Los Angeles District Attorney, listing a $15,000 loan from him to the campaign as part of a critical “11th-hour infusion of funds” that allowed Garcetti to outspend incumbent Ira Reiner by a 2-1 margin. 4

That connection continued when Eric Garcetti began his political career with a successful campaign for Los Angeles City Council. Between 2001 and 2013, the Zollas donated $4,550 to Eric Garcetti’s campaigns for Los Angeles City Council and Mayor. 5

Eric Garcetti’s 2012 city council ethics filings listed him as the owner of properties at 435 Culver Boulevard and 11519 Culver Boulevard in Los Angeles. 6 In 2015, Garcetti’s mayoral ethics filings listed him as having less than a 10 percent stake in two partnerships that now owned those properties. 7 One partnership had been set up by Edward Zolla in 1984, the other had been set up by Susan Zolla in 1992. 8 9

According to his annual ethics filings, Garcetti received between $1,001 and $10,000 in income from each partnership every year that he was Mayor. 10 In his 2023 public financial disclosure report made while he was Biden administration’s nominee to become U.S. Ambassador to India, Garcetti reported $4,405 in income from one partnership and $8,216 from the other during 2022. 11

In a 2021 letter to the U.S. State Department Office of the Legal Advisor, Garcetti did not list a stake in either Zolla partnership when enumerating his other investments that might create a potential conflict of interest, despite doing so for a separate rental property investment that he co-owned with his wife. 12 13

Voter Registration Project

At its founding, a filing from the Zolla Family Foundation detailed its philanthropic priorities as 50 percent focused on programs assisting minority high school students in Southern California, 20 percent on general education and medical research in California and elsewhere, 20 percent on general charitable giving in the Los Angeles area, and 10 percent on direct scholarship grants. In 2007, after Edward died and Susan succeeded him as chair of the Foundation, it reconfirmed that its priorities remained unchanged on its tax return. 14

For the next 13 years, the foundation’s giving largely tracked to those priorities with major grants regularly going to organizations such as Los Angeles-area educational charities, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles Opera, where Edward had been a member of the Board of Directors. 15

In 2020, the Zolla Family Foundation’s tax returns declared that its grants were “to be allocated to education (52 percent), social services (23 percent), arts (19 percent), environment (5 percent), medical (1 percent) within Los Angeles and Southern California.” That year the foundation made a $50,000 donation to the left-of-center, Washington, D.C.-based Voter Registration Project. 16 That donation accounted for slightly more than 10 percent of the Foundation’s $494,513 in grants that year.

References

  1. “Zolla Family Foundation, Full Filing ,” ProPublica, September 11, 2022, https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/522365200/202103069349101850/full.
  2. “Edward Zolla: Entrepreneur, Mentor, Benefactor,” Palisadian-Post, September 21, 2006, https://www.palipost.com/edward-zolla-entrepreneur-mentor-benefactor/.
  3. “Donors: Zolla, Susan,” OpenSecrets, accessed June 21, 2023, https://www.opensecrets.org/search?order=desc&page=3&q=susan%2Bzolla&sort=N&type=donors.
  4. Dean E. Murphy, “Garcetti Bid Got Timely Assist,” Los Angeles Times, August 2, 1992, https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1992-08-02-me-5736-story.html.
  5. Author’s calculations from Los Angeles City Ethics Commission public data portal: https://ethics.lacity.org/data/campaigns/contributions
  6. Eric Garcetti, Form 700: Statement of Economic Interests, April 1, 2013, https://pubdisclosures.wpenginepowered.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Eric-Garcetti-2012-1.pdf
  7. Eric Garcetti, Form 700: Statement of Economic Interests, April 1, 2016, http://www.disclosures.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Mayor-Eric-Garcetti-2015-1.pdf
  8. “State of California Certificate of Limited Partnership – Del Rey Vista Associates LP,” Internet Archive, accessed June 21, 2023, https://ia902906.us.archive.org/12/items/recordsrelatingtopropertyownedbylosangelesmayorericgarcetti/del_rey_associates_LP_certificate.pdf.
  9. “State of California Certificate of Limited Partnership – IPDR Associates LP,” Internet Archive, accessed June 21, 2023, https://ia802906.us.archive.org/12/items/recordsrelatingtopropertyownedbylosangelesmayorericgarcetti/IPDR_associates_LP_certificate.pdf
  10. Author’s calculation from California Fair Political Practices Commission filings: https://www.fppc.ca.gov/transparency/form-700-filed-by-public-officials/form700-search/form700-new.html
  11.  Eric Garcetti, “Executive Branch Personnel Public Financial Disclosure Report (OGE Form 278e),” U.S. Office of Government Ethics, January 4, 2023.
  12.  Eric Garcetti, “Re: Financial Undertakings,” US Office of Government Ethics, May 28, 2021, https://extapps2.oge.gov/201/Presiden.nsf/PAS+Index/5F35DDB69F42704285258723002E627F/$FILE/Garcetti,%20Eric%20M.%20%20finalEA.pdf.
  13. Eric Garcetti, “Form 700: Statement of Economic Interests, March 31, 2022,” Los Angeles Ethics Commission, March 31, 2022, https://ethics.lacity.org/viewdoc/96964
  14. “Zolla Family Foundation – Form 990-PF for Period Ending Dec 2007,” ProPublica, May 13, 2008, https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/522365200/2008_06_PF%2F52-2365200_990PF_200712.
  15. Author’s calculations from organization’s IRS Form 990-PF filings from 2007 to 2020.
  16. “Zolla Family Foundation, Full Filing ,” ProPublica, September 11, 2022, https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/522365200/202103069349101850/full.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: April 1, 2002

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2020 Dec Form PF $577,893 $589,418 $3,979,876 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2019 Dec Form PF $508,356 $506,023 $3,991,401 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2015 Dec Form PF $706,664 $374,475 $4,384,527 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form PF $574,509 $351,745 $4,052,338 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $348,242 $374,990 $3,829,574 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $309,064 $331,525 $3,853,822 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $256,483 $310,485 $3,876,283 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Zolla Family Foundation


    Santa Monica, CA