Friedman Family Foundation: New York City Grants

OVERVIEW: The Friedman Family Foundation is the philanthropic vehicle of former Goldman Sachs Chairman Stephen Friedman and his wife Barbara. The foundation gave away around $5 million in a recent fiscal year. The couple's philanthropy has a New York focus, with education, health, arts and culture, and human services getting the most attention, while other areas have been funded.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, Youth, Health, Human Services, Arts & Culture, Environment, Jewish Causes,  NYC Community.

IP TAKE: The foundation flies well under the radar, with a minimal web presence and no clear guidelines for grantseekers.

PROFILE: Born in Brooklyn, Stephen Friedman joined Goldman, Sachs & Co. in 1966 and became a partner in 1973. Through his years at Goldman Sachs, Friedman also served as chairman. Friedman joined private equity outfit Stone Point Capital in 1998, and currently serves as chairman. Friedman has also held other prominent positions in finance, such as chairman of the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Friedman and his wife Barbara Benioff Friedman are both Cornell graduates.

The couple has engaged in philanthropy for decades and established the Friedman Family Foundation in the late 1970s. Unfortunately for grantseekers, the foundation doesn't have much of a web presence, or a clear way to get in touch. In a recent fiscal year, the foundation gave away around $5 million and held around $27.4 million in assets.

The Friedman's family foundation has supported a number of New York City outfits. Education is a top focus. Barbara taught in the New York City public school system and has also been on the board of The Teagle Foundation in New York, which "works to support and strengthen liberal arts education." The couple has strongly supported Hebrew Union College, an outfit where Barbara had been the first female chair of the board of governors. In a recent fiscal year, Hebrew Union College's New York location received a $50,000 grant. Other recent education grantees in New York include National Academy Foundation, whose mission is to "solve some of the biggest challenges that face education and the economy by bringing education, business, and community leaders together to transform the high school experience," Columbia University Law School, where Friedman got a law degree, and Weill Cornell Medical College.  It's worth mentioning that the couple have strongly supported their alma mater Cornell, in Ithaca, New York.

The couple also earmarks sums for youth outfits in New York City. Recent grantees include Children's Aid Society, and Overcoming Obstacles, whose mission is to "ensure that all young people learn the communication, decision making, and goal setting skills they need to be successful in life," among others.

The Friedmans have also supported health in New York. A big winner here has been Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, which received $1.5 million in the most recent fiscal year available. Between 2004 and 2010, the outfit received at least $7 million. Other recent grantees include New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York Stem Cell Foundation, and Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, which received a $10,000 grant in the most recent fiscal year available.

The couple has also supported human services outfits in the city such as Food Bank of NYC, Settlement Housing Fund, Coalition for the Homeless, and Henry Street Settlement, a "social service agency in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan that provides social services, arts programs and health care services to New Yorkers of all ages." The Friedmans have also supported public media outfits such as WNYC Radio, and Thirteen/WNET. The couple have also supported community organizations, including Citizen’s Union Foundation, a "nonpartisan good government group dedicated to making democracy work for all New Yorkers."

The couple's arts and culture philanthropy has been modest lately but includes: American Museum of Natural History, The Met, New York Historical Society, and Metropolitan Opera. In terms of environmental philanthropy, the couple has recently supported Central Park Conservancy and Environmental Advocates of New York. The Friedmans also earmark funds for Jewish outfits in New York City such as UJA Federation of New York, and JBI International, which was founded in 1931 as the Jewish Braille Institute of America.


  • Stephen Friedman, Trustee
  • Barbara Benioff Friedman, Trustee


The Friedman Family Foundation does not provide a clear avenue for getting in touch with the family but below is an address

Friedman Family Foundation
77 Water St., 9th Fl.
New York City, NY 10005
Telephone: (212) 440-0800