Einhorn Family Charitable Trust: New York City Grants

OVERVIEW: The Einhorn Family Charitable Trust (EFCT) is the philanthropic vehicle of Wall Street billionaire David Einhorn and his wife Cheryl. Much of the couple's grantmaking takes place in New York City.

IP TAKE: Einhorn is still in his forties and the trust's philanthropic giving right now isn't overhwelming. Still, the tempo is rising and the couple has several key interests. A central component, here, is fostering empathy, and EFCT's mission is "helping people get along better."

FUNDING AREAS: Parenting and Early Childhood, K-12 Education, Campus and Community, as well as other causes of personal interest

PROFILE: Einhorn was born to a Jewish family in New Jersey. He received a degree from Cornell University in 1991. Five years after graduating, he started Greenlight Capital with just under a million dollars, half of which he borrowed from his parents, who are also in the financial industry. Einhorn is active on several New York City boards including the Michael J. Fox Foundation, and the well-known Robin Hood Foundation. He also sits on the boards of City Year, and Cornell University.

Einhorn's wife, Cheryl, meanwhile, also graduated from Cornell before going on to receive a master's in journalism from Columbia. She serves on the board of directors of Facing History and Ourselves, and the Solutions Journalism Network’s Advisory Board.

The couple established the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust (EFCT) in 2002. A central component of the outfit's philosophy is empathy, and EFCT'S mission is "helping people get along better." Since its founding, EFCT has given away hundreds of millions in grants.

Health appears to be a high priority of the trust. The Einhorns have given at least $1.8 million to the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Some of this money has come from Einhorn's passion for poker; he has even participated in the World Series of Poker. In a past year, the Center for Hearing and Communication received modest funding from the couple.

Read about the funder's Theory of Change here. A recent grantee perception report can be viewed here.

The Einhorns have also supported Basic Health International, originally affiliated with Mt. Sinai Medical Center, which received a grant of just under $700,000 in a past year. Memorial Sloan Kettering has also received support and in Westchester County, Children’s Hospital Foundation has received funds. Finally, the Nurture Science Program (formerly Brain Gut Initiative) at Columbia University, received at least $6.2 million between over a four-year period.

Another area of Einhorn grantmaking in New York is education. The focus of the Trust’s education funding is in support of national efforts that focus on students’ social-emotional development and positive school culture. Sums have gone to Prep for Prep, IMentor and the Success Charter Network. City Year has also received support. Einhorn sits on the board at City Year which, although headquartered in Boston, also has a New York City arm. The couple also committed $50 million over 10 years to Cornell, their mutual alma materThe $50 million grant to Cornell will be made over 10 years.  The gift’s focus is on public engagement and community-engaged learning for all undergraduate students.

Perhaps most notably, just a couple years ago, the foundation doubled its staff, hiring three domain managers for each program area. The new hires round out the staff of seven. 

Einhorn is also one of several wall street billionaires who sits on the board of the antipoverty outfit Robin Hood Foundation. Given ECFT's ephasis on empathy, this makes sense. What's more, Robin Hood is into several other areas including education. In a past year, more than $3.6 million went to the outfit. The funder's grantmaking strategy can be viewed here.

The Einhorns have also given big money to Jewish causes, supporting organizations such as Repair the World, Hillel, the UJA Federation of NY, Birthright Israel and the Jewish Museum.

Quite a bit of money has been flowing from Einhorn Family Charitable Trust, to the tune of more than $24 million in a recent year. The trust is also unusually accessible, with a useful website with a short list of staff as well, along with their contact info. And although it doesn't accept unsolicited proposals, it says: "we welcome your innovative ideas, suggestions, and solutions for how to help people get along better."

PEOPLE:

  • Cheryl Strauss Einhorn, Trustee
  • David Einhorn, Trustee
  • Jennifer Hoos Rothberg, Executive Director (jennifer@efct.org)
  • Itai Dinour, Education (itai@efct.org)
  • Jonathan Gruber, Campus & Community (jonathan@efct.org)
  • Ira Hillman, Parenting and Early Childhood (ira@efct.org)

CONTACT:

Einhorn Family Charitable Trust

140 East 45th Street, Floor 24

New York, NY 10017

(212) 784-3090

info@efct.org

 

LINKS:

Einhorn Family Charitable Trust