by MICHELLE TREMBLAY | photos by Soul of Photography

Big Hearts for Helping Little Hands

faces_leibowitz1Harry and Kay Leibowitz married 13 years ago at the Hotel Del Coronado, but at the time they were living in Tuscany, Italy and Incline Village, NV. “We decided that we would eventually settle in this area after we sold both of those properties,” recalled the couple. “Now this is our only and permanent home.” The couple was drawn to their Rancho Santa Fe community for its “warm, engaging, and caring” vibes. “We love the fact that this community is composed of a diverse group of people who respect each other and live their lives with a concern for others,” they added.

Having concern for others is something very important to Harry and Kay Leibowitz. “In 1996, while recovering from cancer, Harry conceived of a Nobel-like award program for those who dedicate their lives to vulnerable children,” shared Kay. After two years, the first World of Children Award was given out. “Like Nobel and Pulitzer, World of Children Award searches the globe each year to find those amazing people who have selflessly devoted their lives to vulnerable children,” explained Harry and Kay. “The award identifies and elevates effective child advocates worldwide.” A year after handing out the first award, Harry met Kay and the two became a power couple in child advocacy, dedicating themselves to their philanthropic work. “Today the philanthropy is approaching its 20th anniversary and has benefitted over 30 million children globally,” stated the Leibowitzes, who make it their mission to support these advocates’ work by funding programs, increasing visibility, and offering educational opportunities.

Names: Harry Leibowitz and Kay Isaacson Leibowitz
Community: The Bridges, Rancho Santa Fe
Family: Harry – two children by a prior marriage
Kay – Mother, Nona Isaacson; two sisters on the east coast; lots of nieces/nephews and great nieces/nephews
Favorite Places in 92067: We were sad to see The Village Market disappear. We enjoy Mille Fleurs, Thyme in The Ranch, Café Positano, and the Bridges Club

Apart from their philanthropic work, Harry and Kay have had extensive careers. Harry, who has a B.A. and M.A. from Brooklyn College in NYC and a Ph.D. from Wayne State University in Detroit, has held executive positions at Procter & Gamble Company and ESMARK, Inc. He is the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the Procter & Gamble Alumni Humanitarian Award, the Wayne State University Alumni of the Year Award, and many other honors. He also speaks frequently and is published on children’s issues. Kay holds a B.A. from the University of Tampa and has had a 40-year career in fashion merchandising. She had previously served on the board of directors of the major fashion line Coldwater Creek and currently serves on the board of directors of GUESS.

But it is clear to see that their hearts belong to the World of Children Award. “The most enjoyable part of this work is actually meeting the children and looking in their eyes and seeing hope,” said the couple. “The most challenging part is that there are so many needs and we have such limited capacity.” Despite its challenges, Harry and Kay are committed to persevering. “We believe that it is not a numbers game. It is about addressing each little child – one little hand by one little hand and one little heart by one little heart – that is how we make the world better for children tomorrow than it was yesterday.”