Satter Foundation: Chicago Grants

OVERVIEW: The Satter Foundation is the philanthropic vehicle of finance couple Muneer Satter and his wife Kristen Hertel. The foundation makes grants in a number of different areas, including education reform, policy, health, human services, and arts and culture. In recent fiscal years, the foundation gave away more than $6 million annually.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, Youth, Policy, Arts & Culture, Health, Human Services, Chicago Community

IP TAKE: The foundation flies well under the radar, making it difficult to get a handle on exactly what Satter is looking for in its grantees. A recent 990 indicates that the foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals.

PROFILE: The Satter Foundation was established in 1997 by then Goldman Sachs partner Muneer Satter and his wife Kristen Hertel. Satter held a 0.325 percent stake in Goldman prior to its 1999 IPO, worth millions. Like many charitable vehicles associated with Goldman Sachs veterans, the Satter Foundation flies well under the radar, with minimal information for grantseekers. The foundation held some $73 million in assets in a recent fiscal year and gave away around $6.3 million. Another recent tax form reflects some 90 grantees. This is an active foundation which supports Chicago area outfits working in a lot of different interest areas.

On the K-12 education reform front, Satter and Kristen are strong supporters of the Chicago charter movement. They are primary supporters of New Schools for Chicago, which opens and supports charter and district-run schools. Between 2011 and 2016, the Satter Foundation gave between $1 million and $2 million to New Schools for Chicago, alone. The couple via their Satter Foundation have also recently funded Academy for Urban School Leadership (which received a $200,000 grant recently), KIPP Ascend Charter School, Noble Network of Charter Schools, Perspectives Charter Schools, and Winnetka Public Schools Foundation. Another important grantee here is Accelerate Institute (formerly known as Alain Locke Initiative),  which is committed to closing the achievement by creating "high-impact, transformational school leaders that accelerate student achievement." The outfit also runs a charter school.

The Satter couple also supports higher education in the Chicago area. They recently gave a $10.5 million gift to Northwestern University, the couple's mutual alma mater. Most of the gift will support the Satter Foundation Scholarship program at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Kristen is an active member of the Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy’s advisory board; a recent Satter Foundation grant went to Northwestern School of Education.

The couple also earmarks sums for health and human services outfits in the Chicago area. Recent grantees include Northwestern University Health System, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Lurie Children's Hospital, Family Service of Winnetka, and Greater Chicago Food Depository.

It's tough to talk about Satter without talking about the couple's strong interest in policy and global development. While much of this work takes place far beyond Chicago--for example, through the American Enterprise Institute--recent Chicago area grantees include Chicago Council on Global Affairs and Illinois Policy Institute.

Along with support of Republicans and conservative causes, Satter is also a strong backer of Democratic Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and has helped fund the Emanuel-chaired World Business Chicago. The couple's foundation also recently supported 100 Club Chicago and the Chicago Community Foundation. Additionally, Satter and Kristen earmark funds for arts and culture in Chicago, supporting outfits like Chicago Botanical Garden, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Zoological Society, Joffrey Ballet, and Lyric Opera of Chicago.


  • Search for staff contact info and bios in PeopleFinder (paid subscribers only.)


The Satter Foundation does not provide a clear avenue for getting in touch, but below is an address:

The Satter Foundation

500 N. Michigan Ave., Ste. 1700

Chicago, IL 60611