This Billionaire Is Big Into Film Funding

Fifty-year old billionaire Dirk Ziff is the eldest son of publishing giant William Ziff Jr., who acquired storied magazines such as PC Magazine and Car and Driver. Dirk and his younger brothers Daniel and Robert refused to take over their father's company but they did use their inheritance to found Ziff Brothers Investments, which invests in equities and real estate among other things. And while the brothers recently announced that they were winding down their hedge fund business, each is now worth about $4.8 billion.

And while Dirk Ziff is still relatively young, he's already built a solid philanthropic portolio in and around New York City, where he works, and also in Massachusetts, where he vacations with his wife Natasha. 

Ziff's main interests are education, the environment, cancer research, LGBT causes and arts and media, specifically film. Let's take a look at what the eldest Ziff brother has been up to when it comes to film.

The Film Society of Lincoln Center has been a beneficiary of much of Ziff's grantmaking, which he does through the Natasha & Dirk Ziff Foundation. He gifted the society with $250,000 back in 2011 as part of a steady stream of money that's been flowing into the film society annually. (Ziff has also donated to other parts of Lincoln Center.)

Ziff also is passionate about funding arts in Massachusetts, especially near his vacation home in Martha's Vineyard. In 2008, he made a $500,000 donation commitment to the Martha's Vineyard Film Festival. Once that multi-year commitment was satisfied, he showed no signs of slowing down in 2012 with another donation. Ziff has also supported a film nonprofit called Sea the World Productions, which his wife operates.

Speaking of Natasha Bacigalupo Ziff, the former Forbes reporter has a passion for film and is surely a big influence on the family's philanthropy in this area. Natasha sits on the advisory board for the Martha's Vineyard Film Festival. What's more, assets at Natasha & Dirk Ziff Foundation have climbed sharply in recent years, to nearly $5.5 million. 

Beyond Ziff and his wife Natasha, much of the Ziff family is big into arts in their own right. William Ziff Jr.'s second wife Ann is the chairman of the Metropolitan Opera, and was responsible for a record-breaking $30 million gift to the opera a few years ago. Ziff's younger brother Daniel is married to Leslie, who serves on the boards for the American Ballet Theatre and Rosie's Theater Kids.

Got all of that?

The elder Ziff brother is only 50, so he's still very much involved with business and not philanthropy. But on the local level, Dirk Ziff is already building a modest list of film grantmaking that should only get bigger with time.