The Dr. Theodore A. Atlas Foundation is a New York-based 501(c)(3) community service organization that provides financial, legal and emotional support to individuals and organizations in need, and focuses particularly on the needs of children. It was founded in 1997 by boxing trainer and commentator, Teddy Atlas, in order to honor the memory of his father. In the spirit of Dr. Atlas, who provided free medical care to those who could not afford it and made house calls to give personal care to his patients until he was 80 years old, the Foundation has attempted since its inception to ease the burden of the less fortunate among us. And it accomplishes this in a very human way, in a way which preserves the dignity of the people it helps.
The Foundation comes to the aid of people in a variety of difficult situations, people who would otherwise fall between the cracks. It has engaged in large endeavors, such as creating incentive programs in schools to encourage and motivate students, opening and operating a food pantry in Staten Island to make sure that children do not go to bed hungry, and distributing turkeys on Thanksgiving and toys on Christmas to families who do not have the financial resources to properly celebrate the holidays. And it has helped literally thousands of individuals and families in their time of need. It purchased a special machine to oxidate the blood of a young girl with pulmonary atresia; it purchased a central air conditioning unit for the home of a young boy whose rare condition caused his skin to blister painfully when the room temperature increased; it surprised a 12-year-old boy with cancer who returned home from chemotherapy to find that his bare room that his mother could not afford to furnish, except for a mattress on the floor, had been painted and equipped with a new bed and furniture and a television; it helped to pay the health insurance of a young boy with lymphoma who was receiving chemotherapy treatments, and then brought him to a Yankee game, where he spent time in the dugout with Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, in order to lift the spirits of the 5-year-old Yankee fan. This is just a small sampling of the kind of work that the Foundation does every day.
And it has done so with a volunteer staff and without any bureaucratic obstacles. Administrative costs are minimal, so that nearly every penny that comes into the Foundation is disbursed to help people in need. And once the Foundation determines a particular need, it acts immediately to help. This no-nonsense approach to helping people is a direct product of the character and approach of its founder, Teddy Atlas.
The Foundation's primary fundraising event is the annual “Teddy” Dinner, which takes place each year on the Thursday before Thanksgiving. The Dinner attracts an A-list of celebrity guests. Over one thousand supporters attend the “Teddy” Dinner, along with numerous celebrity athletes and actors who show their support for the work of the Foundation. Past attendees have included, from the world of sports, Bill Parcells, Eric Mangini, Chad Pennington, Curtis Martin, Gary Sheffield, John Franco, John McEnroe, Willis Reed, Mickey Ward, Arturo Gatti, Larry Holmes, George Foreman, “Sugar” Ray Leonard, Gerry Cooney, Greg Buttle, Lou Duva, Tommy Hearns, Bruce Harper, Michael Moorer, Phil Simms, Bobby Czyz, Pete Rose, Iran Barkley and Harry Carson, and, from the world of entertainment, Chris Noth, Chuck Zito, Willem Dafoe, Danny Aiello, Pat Cooper, Holt McCallany, Tony Siricco, Burt Young, Max Kellerman, Mike Fransceca and Steven Baldwin.