Marie-Josee and Henry R. Kravis Foundation: Grants for Visual Arts

OVERVIEW:  The Marie-Josee and Henry R. Kravis Foundation is helmed by private equity firm founder Henry R. Kravis and his prominent economist wife Marie-Josee Kravis. The foundation is very active in New York City and the couple sits on numerous boards, most notably some of the city's most prominent arts museums. The foundation has sent a steady stream of money to MoMA, the Met, and many of the other staples of New York City arts culture.

IP TAKE: Marie-Josee and Henry Kravis are among the most preeminent art collector couples in the country. This appears to fuel the foundation's giving, grantmaking that has taken place predominantly at local level. 

PROFILE: Oklahoma-born Henry R. Kravis co-founded Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR) in the 1970s, a New York-based private equity firm that now has grown to have tens of billions in assets. Kravis was a 1980s leveraged buyouts titan and founded the Marie-Josee and Henry R. Kravis Foundation thereafter.

Kravis and his wife are deep into art collecting and own Renoirs, Monets, and Louis XIV furniture. Since 2008, Kravis has also jointly owned a provocative Jasper Johns painting with St. Louis-based entrepreneur Donald Bryant. Each year, the businessmen/art aficionados trade custody of the painting. When Bryant was late one year in delivering the painting to New York, Kravis sued. Kravis definitely takes his art seriously.

To that end, Kravis and Marie-Josee are deep into arts giving in New York City. They appear to have a preference for modern art and their foundation has given heavily to MoMA and the Met. Kravis has a wing named after him at the Met and Marie-Josee is president of MoMA's board of trustees. 

The foundation has also given to many other famed New York arts and music institutions, including Lincoln Center Theater, the Metropolitan Opera, the Morgan Library and Museum, and the Whitney Museum of Art. Kravis made a major donation to the New York Philharmonic in 2009 in honor of his wife, endowing the Composer-in-Residence position, and creating a prize for new music. The foundation has also supported the Centre Pompidou, a modern arts museum in Paris, France. 

Most of Kravis' giving appears to go to the organizations with which he has a personal affiliation. Their foundation is not open to grantseekers. It has no website, and its president, Richard I. Beattie is an old friend of Kravis', and helped him close one of his first buyout deals.

However, there is reason to keep an eye on Kravis' art giving. In recent years, the foundation has increased its grantmaking. In 2010, only around $3.6 million went out of the door. More recently, around $20 million has been given away annually. In addition, Kravis has personal connections and travels to areas such as Palm Beach, Florida, his birthplace of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Vail, Colorado. It's possible that in upcoming years, Kravis may expand his passion for art to these locales outside New York City. 


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Marie Josee and Henry R. Kravis Foundation
c/o KKR Financial Services Foundation
730 5th Avenue 8th Floor
New York, NY 10019