Born in 1929, New York City native Robert Menschel received his B.S. from Syracuse University and attended NYU's Graduate School of Business. He became a specialist with the New York Stock Exchange in 1951, and joined Goldman, Sachs & Company in 1954. He became partner about a decade later and is currently a senior director.
Menschel has been engaged in philanthropy for decades, with a focus on New York City. In fact, he has two philanthropic vehicles, both of which show a preference for New York City outfits, particularly his family foundation. One of these charities is the Robert and Joyce Menschel Family Foundation, which gives away around $1 million. The other is Vital Projects Fund, which posted some $315 million in assets in 2014, and gave away a little under $13 million. While neither outfit has much of a web presence or a clear way to get in touch, here are a few must-knows:
1. Arts and Culture in New York City Has Been Well Supported
Robert's former wife Joyce has been on the board of trustees at the Met since the 1990s, and the museum is the site of the Joyce F. Menschel Photography Library. The Met received some $400,000 from the Menschel Family Foundation in 2014. Vital Projects, meanwhile, gave $1 million to the Met in 2014. Sums have also gone to MoMA, where Menschel used to chair the board of trustees and has given at least 130 works of art. Other outfits receiving recent money through the Menschel Family Foundation include Carnegie Hall, Whitney Museum of Art, Film Society of Lincoln Center, Apollo Theater in Harlem, and Signature Theater. Vital Projects Fund, meanwhile, recently gave to Philharmonic Symphony Society of New York, and Modern Museum of Art. There's some overlap in the grantmaking from these two vehicles as well.
2. Health Is Another Interest
Modest sums from the Menschel Family Foundation have recently gone to the New York Presbyterian Fund. Menschel is a tustee and member of the executive committee of New York Presbyterian Hospital. Vital Projects has recently funded a similar list of grantees, though Montifiore Hospital has been supported through the fund as well.
3. Assorted Sums Have Gone Elsewhere
In K–12 education, Vital Projects has supported Storefront Academy Harlem, and the couple's family foundation has recently supported Prep for Prep. It's worth mentioning that much of Menschel's education philanthropy focuses on his alma mater, Syracuse. Money has also gone to Friends of the High Line, Brooklyn Historical Society, WNET, and Central Park Conservancy.
Vital Projects is a strong supporter of human rights and criminal justice. While some of this grantmaking takes place outside of New York City, money has recently gone to gone to Brennan Center for Justice, a public policy and law institute at NYU Law School that "focuses on the fundamental issues of democracy and justice."
Finally, it's worth noting that Robert's brother Richard also has two philanthropic vehicles that focus on New York as well.