Druckenmiller Foundation: New York City Grants

OVERVIEW: The Druckenmiller Foundation, bankrolled by a retired hedge fund mananger, gives to a diverse array of causes in New York City, though education and poverty are top priorities. 

FUNDING AREAS: Health, education, poverty, arts

IP TAKE: The Druckenmillers have ramped up their philanthropy in recent years.  

PROFILE: Stanley F. Druckenmiller attended Bowdoin before starting his own hedge fund, Duquesne Capital, in 1981. Feeling that he could no longer deliver high returns to his clients, he closed the fund in 2010. Druckenmiller also was an acolyte of George Soros, and was the lead portfolio manager of his Quantum Fund.

The good news for grantseekers is that the Druckenmiller Foundation, which Druckenmiller runs with his wife Fiona, has really upped its giving in recent years, particularly after his retirement. Druckenmiller was named America’s Most Charitable Man of 2009 by the Chronicle of Philanthropy after he pledged $705 million to endow his foundation in support of medical research, education, and the fight against poverty, particularly among children.

A few years later, these continue to be the primary interests of the couple, and at the end of a recent, the foundation held overa billion dollars in assets and gave away around $75 million that year, much of it to New York City institutions. Both assets and total giving have increased from recent years in the past.

At the center of Druckenmiller's New York City philanthropy is Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ), the children's education and anti-poverty outfit, where he serves as chairman of the board. Druckenmiller was brought in to after President and CEO Geoffrey Canada pitched him for funds. Druckenmiller and Canada are friends and attended Bowdoin together. 

The funds going to Harlem Children's Zone since 2006 may now total over $100 million. Druckenmiller once said of his philanthropy: "I like putting all my eggs in one basket and then watching that basket carefully.” This certainly appears to be his strategy when it comes to Harlem Children's Zone. 

The Druckenmillers have also funded serveral other educational outfits in the city. Teach for America has received at least $100,000 annually in recent years. Smaller sums have gone to Harlem Village Academies, Children's Storefront (a tuition free private school in East Harlem), and Prep for Prep. In a past year, the Druckenmillers also gave $1 million to the Foundation for Newark's Future, the nonprofit working to improve Newark schools and most famously supported by Mark Zuckerberg.

Closer to home, the couple has deep ties to Spence School, the K-12 all-girls private school. Fiona is an alumna of the school and so are the Druckenmillers' kids. Fiona aserved as a trustee at Spence for many years. Spence received $5 million alone in a single year. Barnard College, Fiona's undergraduate alma mater, has also received money. 

The Druckenmillers have also been steady funders of antipoverty outfits in New York City. Robin Hood Foundation has received at least $250,000 in recent years. One connection here is also personal and Robin Hood co-founder Paul Tudor Jones and Druckenmiller have been friends for years.  

The couple has also shown a strong interest in health. A large $100 million gift established the Neuroscience Institute at NYU School of Medicine. One of Druckenmiller's daughters is at NYU's School of Medicine. What's more, Fiona is a trustee at NYU Langione where the aforementioned Paul Tudor Jones also serves as a trustee. Fellow Bowdoin graduate and American Express CEO Kenneth Chanault is on the board as well. 

Other health outfits receiving money in recent years include Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and the New York Stem Cell Foundation, which received a $3 million grant from the couple in 2010. The couple have also had a fellowship program in their name at the New York Stem Cell Foundation, where selected students receive provide $50,000 annually in stipend plus $2,500 annually for computer or travel expenses. The Druckenmillers have also been principal sponsors of AIDS Walk New York.

The couple has also given assorted gifts to arts institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, which received $250,000 in one recent year. Most grants are in the range of $25,000 to $50,000, and have included the Museum of Art & Design, the American Museum of Natural History, the NYC Ballet, the Museum of Chinese in the Americas, and the NYC Botanical Gardens. Fiona is vice chair at the Natural History Museum.

The Druckenmillers have recently been getting into environmental causes as well, perhaps spurred by their other daughter, Hannah, who has a passion for environmental causes, and has worked the National Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Fund. Smaller sums have gone to Southhampton Animal Shelter Foundation and a few other select Long Island environmental groups in proximity to a Druckenmiller residence. The funding here isn't huge yet, but could be an area that the family eventually dedicates more time to. 

For all its extensive grantmaking, the Druckenmiller Foundation doesn't have a website or otherwise make things easy for grantseekers. Indeed, it doesn't even appear to have a staff. 

PEOPLE:

  • Stanley F. Druckenmiller, Trustee
  • Fiona Druckenmiller, Trustee

CONTACT:

40 W. 57th St., 25th Fl.

New York, NY 10019

Telephone: (212) 404-1150