Based in Princeton, New Jersey, the Rita Allen Foundation was established in 1953 and sponsors a major grants program for researchers in science. The Rita Allen Foundation Scholars’ program provides funding to leading research institutions reviewed by a Scientific Advisory Committee. Many Rita Allen Foundation Scholars have made important discoveries and advances.
The Rita Allen Foundation’s areas of active interest include promoting civic literacy and engagement, investing in young leaders in the sciences and social innovation, and building stronger communities.
The Rita Allen Foundation Board of Directors is comprised of nine directors. It is a highly engaged group of stewards who participate fully in the governance of the institution and bring a wide range of interests and expertise to all discussions about policies and programs.
Mrs. Rita Allen Cassel was the founder of our organization and for many years served as President of the Rita Allen Foundation.
A well-known theatrical producer in the 1950s and 1960s, Mrs. Allen Cassel co-produced “The Grass Harp” by Truman Capote as well as an adaption of the famous French play, “My 3 Angels.”
With her second husband, Mr. Milton Cassel, she co-produced “The Making of the Moo” and “The Cut of the Axe.”
The Cassels collaborated on a total of five plays at the Rita Allen Theater in New York City. The Theater was a 187 seat house at 120 Madison Avenue (between 30th and 31st Streets), now the location of The American Academy of the Dramatic Arts.
In addition to her achievements on Broadway, Mrs. Allen Cassel was recognized internationally for the quality of her productions.
In 1955, she co-produced a Spanish version of “The Teahouse of the August Moon,” which was later sent on a tour of Latin America by the U.S. State Department’s International Exchange Program. In London, she co-produced “Kismet” in 1953 and “Wonderful Town” in 1954.
During their lifetimes, both she and Mr. Cassel gave generously to a number of worthy causes, including the Rita Allen Foundation.
A scholarship in Mrs. Allen Cassel’s name was established at the American Theater Wing’s Professional Training Program in 1954, the same year she was named to their board of directors. She also served on the board of the City Center of Music and Drama, one of New York’s most popular cultural venues in the mid-20th Century.
In 1965, Mrs. Allen Cassel established the Dr. Nathan Friedman Chair in Cardiovascular-Renal Diseases, named in memory of her father, at the New York University School of Medicine. She was involved heavily in the efforts of the Westhampton Fund, a charity devoted to building a hospital in the Hamptons area of Long Island, New York.
Her strong interest in supporting medical research and promoting the arts are threads that are still found today in the fabric of the Rita Allen Foundation.
Mrs. Allen Cassel’s first marriage was to Charles Robert Allen, Jr., famous financier and investment banker, and founder of Allen & Company. She re-married to Mr. Cassel in 1956.
Upon her death, Mr. Cassel assumed the presidency of the Rita Allen Foundation until he died in 2004.