This Young Billionaire Has Already Given Big to Dance

Daniel Ziff is the youngest of the three billionaire Ziff brothers. Each brother is worth about $4.8 billion and the youngest Ziff is just now only entering his fifth decade of life. That means the giving he's doing now probably pales in comparison to the giving he'll be doing later. And Daniel Ziff has already been doing a lot of giving.

His first donation to Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts came back in 1997 when he gave the institution $25,000. He's supported the center ever since, with several other performing arts institutions thrown into the mix. Other recipients of Ziff's grantmaking include conservation organizations and New York City based institutions. 

The Leslie and Daniel Ziff Foundation (formerly the Daniel Ziff Foundation) held around $3.6 million in assets at the close of 2013 and in recent years has zeroed in on dance. The foundation has generally been supportive of the performing arts, but this more specific interest is something new. Part of this shift seems to be centered around Ziff's wife Leslie who assumed the role of director of the foundation after the couple got married. Leslie is on the boards of American Ballet Theatre and Rosie's Theater Kids. She has a clear interest in dance and in fact received her BFA in dance.

Not surprisingly, American Ballet Theatre received a big gift from the foundation in 2012 -- just over $1 million. Rosie's Broadway Theatre, a dance and arts education program in New York has also received money in recent years. What's more, Lincoln Center of the Performing Arts still receives a steady stream of money from the foundation, often in the form of multi-year pledges.

While the foundation generally focuses on grantmaking in New York, the foundation gave a $150,000 gift to the Polaris Dance Theater in Portland. 

The foundation might also dabble more in education in the coming years, with dance as a vehicle to improve student outcomes. Not only has the foundation supported Rosie's Broadway Theater but another program called Dynamic Forms Inc/Mark Degarmo and Dancers, which established a 16 week dance residency at PS 142 in Manhattan for pre-K to third graders. Ziff has also supported Girls Preparatory Charter School of New York ($175,000 in 2012) and Harlem Village Academies. 

Outside of the performing arts and education, Ziff is also passionate about conservation. At this point, the youngest Ziff brother has a lot of other things going on and is not yet totally focusing on philanthropy. (Although the Ziff brothers recently announced that they were winding down their hedge fund business). But he's already establishing a solid track-record and he and Leslie are definitely a couple to watch in the area of dance funding.