How This Former Goldman Sachs Chairman Does His Philanthropy

Making it to the top of Goldman Sachs is no small feat, and unsurprisingly, the rewards are lucrative. Current CEO and chairman Lloyd C. Blankfein, for example, made more than $22 million in the 2014 fiscal year, according to one source. Then there's former Goldman Sachs chairman Stephen Friedman, who served as chair in the early 1990s.

Born in 1937 in Brooklyn, Friedman received his B.A. from Cornell University, and a law degree from Columbia Law School. He joined Goldman, Sachs & Co. in 1966 and became a partner in 1973. After leaving Goldman Sachs, Friedman joined private equity outfit Stone Point Capital. Friedman has also held other prominent positions such as chairman of the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, economic policy advisor to President George W. Bush and director of National Economic Council.

It's unclear how much Friedman is currently worth, but remember, this is Goldman Sachs we're talking about. Friedman and his wife Barbara Benioff Friedman move their philanthropy through the Friedman Family Foundation, which was established in the late 1970s. Unfortunately for grantseekers, the foundation doesn't have much of a web presence or a clear way to get in touch. In a recent fiscal year, the foundation gave away around $5 million and held around $27.4 million in assets.

Here are a few other things to know about the couple's philanthropy:

1. The Couple Supports Education

Both Friedman and Barbara belong to Cornell's Class of 1959. They have strongly supported their alma mater in Ithaca over the years, giving at least $7.1 million between 2004 and 2010. Recent Friedman Family Foundation grantmaking involved various Cornell outfits, such as Cornell University Athletics, and Cornell Lab of Ornithology. It's worth mentioning that Friedman was a wrestler at Cornell and was inducted into the Cornell Athletic Hall of Fame; last decade, the couple made a lead gift toward the creation of Cornell University's Friedman Wrestling Center. Friedman and Barbara also support other wrestling outfits such as Finger Lakes Wrestling Club, Friends of Long Island Wrestling, and National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

The Friedmans' foundation has recently supported USC Shoah Foundation, Crossroads Academy, Georgetown Day School, Columbia University Law School, and Weill Cornell Medical College, which has received some $3 million according to available tax records. The Friedmans have strongly supported Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, as well; this is an outfit, by the way, that Barbara once chaired the first woman to do so. Barbara also taught in the New York City public school system and has also been on the board of the Teagle Foundation, which "works to support and strengthen liberal arts education."

2. Youth Is Another Interest

The Friedman's foundation has recently supported buildOn, an "international nonprofit organization that runs youth service afterschool programs in United States high schools, and builds schools in developing countries." It also supports Publicolor, which provides "design-based programs to at-risk youth and bringing vibrant color to institutional public spaces," and Children’s Aid Society, among others.

3. The Friedmans Also Support Health

A big winner here is Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, which received $1.5 million in the most recent fiscal year for which records are available. Between 2004 and 2010, the outfit received at least $7 million. Other recent grantees include New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York Stem Cell Foundation, and Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, which received a $10,000 grant in the most recent fiscal year available.

4. The Couple Also Earmarks Funds for Human Services

Recent grantees include Food Bank of NYC, Settlement Housing Fund, Coalition for the Homeless, and Henry Street Settlement, a "social service agency in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan that provides social services, arts programs and health care services to New Yorkers of all ages."

5. The Friedmans Also Support Environmental and Arts Outfits

Recent environmental grantees include Central Park Conservancy and Environmental Advocates, both of New York, and Jackson Hole Land Trust, in Wyoming. In art, recent grantees include American Museum of Natural History, Playwrights Horizon, The Met, New York Historical Society, Metropolitan Opera, and Museum of American Finance.  

6. The Couple Funds Jewish Organizations

 Recent grantees include Central Synagogue, UJA Federation of New York, American Jewish Committee, and JBI International, which was founded in 1931 as the Jewish Braille Institute of America.

7. Global Development and New York City Community Outfits

In global development, recent grantees include Council on Foreign Relations, and Kalai Foundation, a scholarship fund that operates in Zimbabwe. Friedman serves on the board of the Council on Foreign Relations.

In New York, the Friedmans support public media outfits such as WNYC Radio, and Thirteen/WNET, as well as community outfits such as Citizen’s Union Foundation. Citizen's Union describes itself as a "nonpartisan good government group dedicated to making democracy work for all New Yorkers."

The Friedmans are still active philanthropists with a number of interests. But we'll also keep you apprised of the family's next generation of philanthropy. The couple's kids don't yet appear to be on the books of the family foundation, but may be busy with their careers. Son David Benioff, who took his mother's maiden name as an adult, is a prominent screenwriter and producer behind such hits as Game of Thrones and Spike Lee's 25th Hour.

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