The Irene W. & Guy L. Anderson Children’s Foundation was established in 1970 by Irene Anderson. The trust honored her late husband, Guy Anderson, who prospered in the fields of shellac development and real estate. With philanthropic intent, Irene Anderson named Robert A. Schlesinger, her esteemed attorney, as trustee of this foundation which they began to build together during the final decade of her life. Childless herself, Anderson sought to care for the unmet physical and intellectual needs of children, regardless of background or race.
During the 1970s, the Anderson Children’s Foundation sponsored special programs in the Palm Springs Unified School District. In an era when handicapped needs received the bulk of government dollars, Irene Anderson focused on gifted children who were being referred to as “the most neglected minority in American education.” Her contribution was The Anderson Talent Program, which included the Anderson Research program, the Anderson Symphony, and the Anderson Singers, plus classes and seminars designed to help children and teenagers develop their gifts.
After Irene Anderson passed away in 1980, the Anderson Children's Foundation carried on her legacy of nurturing gifted children and the gifts in all children. In 1982, the foundation designated the majority of its charitable funding to a nonprofit organization named Wilde Woode Children’s Center. Wilde Woode’s after-school program, summer programs, and Wee Wilde Woode preschool provided unique classes and field trips encouraging young people to develop areas of interest and ability.
In 1992 William Schlesinger became trustee. Under his leadership ACF grew in value and shifted its focus to giving grants to diverse children’s programs throughout the Coachella Valley. Bob Worswick and Jane Mills, both with extensive experience in the field of education, have collaborated as co-administrators of the foundation's grant program since 1993. Diane Schlesinger began to serve as trustee in 2012. Under her guidance, ACF continues to invest the legacy of Irene Anderson for the purpose of meeting unmet needs and enhancing the lives of children.