paul van der grift

Paul is the president of the board of directors of First Serve, a non-profit organization that works with at risk youth and law enforcement to reduce violence and break the patterns of poverty in under-served communities in Palm Beach County.


First Serve was founded by the late Palm Beach Civic Association Director and philanthropist, A. Lachan Reed. It partners with the Police Athletic League (PAL),  the Palm Beach Police and Fire Department, the United States Tennis Association’s National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL), and The Breaker’s Hotel’s Volunteer Time Off Program to provide after school tennis lessons and mentoring to more than 245 students each year. 


Paul, a retired actor and documentary filmmaker, received his acting training at Uta Hagen’s HB Studio and his film training at New York University.  He has produced, directed, and written numerous projects working with such historical figures as Mohammad Ali, Mikhail Gorbachev, Desmond Tutu, Maya Angelou, Althea Gibson, and Billie Jean King. 


Paul received his Bachelors degree in International Affairs with a minor in Social Work from Florida State University. Paul is certified by Enneagram Worldwide as a teacher of the Enneagram, a personality typology designed to help individuals and organizations become more successful by identifying self defeating patterns and becoming more aware of their personal blind spots and their primary areas of emotional reactivity. He is also a student of Tai Chi, introduced to him by the late Grandmaster, Jeffrey J. Guiffre, and for which he later studied under Tai Ji Quan, Qi Gong, and Nei Gong.   


Paul lives with his wife Joanie in Palm Beach.  They have three adult children and four dogs. Maximus, their 110 lb German Shepherd, serves as the official mascot for First Serve.