The Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation was created in 1963 by Mortimer Levitt, who set aside assets to support music, dance, the arts, educational institutions and nonprofits with which he was involved, and the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts.
Levitt had a long love affair with outdoor music. He grew up in an era when almost every community had Sunday afternoon concerts on the village green. He loved listening to music under the stars. To him, it was magic.
On his 90th birthday, he sold the company he had owned for 60 years and decided to replace his 82 custom shirt shops with Levitt pavilions around the country. Mortimer Levitt passed away in 2005 at the age of 98. The Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation lives on to support the Levitt pavilions that Mortimer started.
Since the first Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts opened in 1973, families in Westport CT have enjoyed the annual summer tradition of experiencing free concerts under the stars. Generous startup grants from the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation have also helped restore and establish two Levitt pavilions in California, in Pasadena and Los Angeles, as well as pavilions in Memphis and Bethlehem PA. All Levitt pavilions hold steadfast to their core value of presenting a minimum of 50 free performances that connect families with neighbors.
All it took was one visit by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation for them to know that Arlington was the perfect place for a Texas Levitt Pavilion. Local officials and dedicated community volunteers agreed. The foundation committed $250,000 toward the construction of Levitt Pavilion Arlington, as well as pledging annual support.
In just a few short months, Arlington raised $1.2 million to make the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts and Founders Plaza the crowning jewel in the revitalization of downtown Arlington, and a much-needed community gathering place for everyone. “Our nonprofit organization, called Friends of the Levitt Pavilion, was put together in 2007,” said Richard Treat, Levitt Pavilion Production Manager. “That was when we raised all the money to build the stage and started presenting concerts that fall.”