Len Ragozin (1929–2021) devoted much of his life to back progressive causes. He grew up in a left-wing, anti-racist household in New York. After graduating from Harvard University in 1949 he went to Memphis to help organize low-paid, mostly black workers in furniture and mattress factories.
Back in New York, Ragozin was hired by Newsweek and seemed bound for a life as a magazine editor—until 1954, when the Red Scare intervened. When Ragozin refused to inform on some politically active classmates from Harvard, the FBI persuaded the publisher to deny him a promotion. He decided then and there to take a more independent road in life. In the pre-computer era, Len developed the algorithms that became The Ragozin Sheets, the outstanding individual thoroughbred horse performance records used by major owners, trainers and handicappers. He described that experience in a book: “The Odds Must Be Crazy.” Ragozin used his peerless speed figures and conditioning theories to net a consistent profit in a game widely considered unbeatable.
Despite the demands of his business, Ragozin never lost sight of his political principles. He actively protested against the U.S. intervention in Vietnam. A gifted folksinger and banjo player in his own right, he has given much to politically simpatico artists over the years. He has underwritten independent films about racist inequalities in New York City’s schools, Kentucky miners, U.S. imperialism in Afghanistan, and anti-Muslim racism after the September 11 World Trade Center bombing.
In 2013, Ragozin sold his business and donated a major portion of the proceeds to found The Len Ragozin Foundation.
The Len Ragozin Foundation’s mission is to encourage debate and discussion of trends in progressive politics, to encourage cutting edge practices in the area of social activism, and to nurture cultural projects in areas of progressive issues. We provide support for groups working on new, innovative ways to put progressive ideas into practice. Groups working on topics from education and culture to immigration are challenged to create thoughtful, practical ways to bring about meaningful change in a measurable way in the real world.
The Len Ragozin Foundation accepts funding requests for activities recognized as legitimate 501 (c) (3) United States domestic activities. Donations to the Foundation are tax deductible.