A native of Egypt, Haim Saban immigrated to Israel, relocated to France, and then arrived in Los Angeles in the 1980s. In 1988, he formed Saban Entertainment, an international television, production, distribution and merchandising company that produced several major hits.
One of those hits was Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, an action-adventure series that was a staple of pretty much every kid's childhood in the 1990s. Saban is presently worth $3.4 billion, and he and his wife Cheryl are active philanthropists, primarily in Los Angeles, but in several other areas as well.
The Saban Family Foundation is mainly known for its advocacy for Israel and Jewish causes, but that's not all it's into. Here's a few things to know about the Sabans' philanthropy:
1. The Sabans Have Supported Jewish Causes in the States and Israel
At home, the Sabans have focused on supporting Jewish causes in Los Angeles and Washington D.C. In Los Angeles, money has recently gone to the Jewish Community Foundation, and the Sephardic Educational Center. The couple has also been a strong funder of Friends of Israel Defense Forces (FIDF). FIDF received just under $7.5 million from Saban between 2007 and 2012, and $1.32 million went to FIDF in 2013. We don't yet have data for 2014, when the Gaza war raged, but we'd bet it sparked more big giving by Saban. In fact, Saban may well be the biggest single supporter of FIDF. The story here, in part, is that Saban, like all male and female Israelis over the age of 18, served in the Israeli Defense Forces. (As an aside, we wonder how many other U.S. billionaires have ever worn a military uniform.)
Saban has also given away other money related to Israel, with $14 million last decade going to complete the children's hospital at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba. As well, a component of the couple's philanthropy in this area involves policy. Saban established the Saban Center for Middle East Studies and the Saban Forum at the Brookings Institution, though the Saban Center has since dropped the Saban name. $1.75 million went to Brookings in 2013.
2. Women's Empowerment Is Another Key Interest
Cheryl Saban runs a separate foundation called the Cheryl Saban Self Worth Foundation for Women & Girls in Los Angeles, which focuses on women's empowerment. She's also a public delegate to the UN's 67th General Assembly, and a US delegate to the 57th Conference on the Status of Women at the UN.
The Saban Family Foundation also considers women's issues, and has given recent grants to the Rape Foundation, Girls Inc, and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for researching female-pattern heart disease. The Saban Family Foundation is also a partner of Girls Who Code. It's worth noting that the Saban Self Worth Foundation's focus in education is on STEM.
3. Assorted Sums Have Gone to Health and Education
The Sabans have been longtime funders of Children's Hospital of LA, with $40 million going to the outfit alone in 2003. More recently, at least $1 million annually has been going to the hospital. The Children's Hospital of Rhode Island, meanwhile, received $20 million in 2007. It's clear that children's hospitals are a priority in health for the couple, but more recently, large sums have gone to cancer research, including $1 million to the Melanoma Research Foundation in 2013.
In education, money has to Los Encinos School, and Los Angeles Team Mentoring. Saban doesn't really have much going in the realm of higher education, and did not attend college.
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