History & Mission

The Stephen and May Cavin Leeman Foundation is a family foundation established in 1969 by Stephen and May Cavin Leeman. It was originally called the SEARCH Foundation (Science, Education, Art, Research, Conservation, and History), reflecting the broad interests of the founders.

In its early years, the Foundation focused its activities in Rockland County, NY, the founders’ home community. Significant projects included the preservation of the birthplace of Edward Hopper in Nyack, NY, the development and publication of a historical Portrait of West Nyack, the giving of Nyack and West Nyack Community Awards, the promotion of a Rockland County anti-litter campaign, and the support of a Bias Awareness Workshop in Upper Nyack.

From 1988 to 1994 the Foundation funded a free cardiovascular screening program operated by Nyack Hospital, and from 1991 to 1994 the Foundation supported the Fellowship of Reconciliation, based in Rockland County, in several of its peace-promoting activities, including the establishment of the F.O.R. Peace Library.

Following the deaths of Stephen Leeman in 1993 and May Cavin Leeman in 1995, the leadership of the Foundation passed to the next generation of the family. The headquarters of the Foundation were moved to New York City. The Directors decided to shift the Foundation’s focus to programs serving under-served children and youths in New York City, with an emphasis on relatively small agencies, with grants for projects where we believe that our limited resources can make a tangible, demonstrable difference.