Paulson Family Foundation: New York City Grants

OVERVIEW: Billionaire hedge manager John Paulson and his wife Jenny make grants in New York through the Paulson Family Foundation.

IP TAKE: While Paulson's recent $100 million gift to Central Park Conservancy has been the headline of his philanthropy to date, the foundation has held upward of $500 million in assets in recent years, with education, health, and other New York City outfits receiving sums.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, Community Development, Health

PROFILE: John Paulson grew up in Queens and attended NYU and later Harvard Business School. He worked for Boston Consulting Group, Odyssey Partners, and Bear Sterns before starting his own hedge fund, Paulson & Co. Most of his money was earned betting against the mortgage-backed securities market in 2007.

Paulson married Jenny Zaharia, a Romanian immigrant, in 2000. Paulson is media shy and his foundation, the Paulson Family Foundation, is equally opaque. It doesn't have a website, and the most recent available tax records only list Paulson himself as staff. However, the foundation has been endowed with nearly $500 million in assets, and in recent years New York has been a prime funding area. In a recent year, the funder had over $754 million in assets and gave more than $58.5 million.

It's unclear when Paulson starting giving away his fortune. Between 2009 and 2011, he gave $15 million to the Center for Responsible Lending, and $20 million to NYU Stern School of Business. Paulson has also been supportive of Ecuador, where his father is from. Paulson gave $15 million to build a maternity hospital there. 

Paulson's biggest philanthropic move so far was announcing a $100 million gift to New York’s Central Park Conservancy. He's given the organization modest sums in the past, and continued supporting since with at least another $100,000. Of Central Park, Paulson has said that the park is “fundamental to the economic and cultural health of New York City,” adding that he bikes and jogs in the park almost every day. He owns a mansion close by on the Upper East Side. 

Paulson has also supported Lincoln Center of the Performing Arts, and the Film Society of Lincoln Center. The latter outfit received at least $100,000 one year, and similar amounts in prior recent years. Money has also gone to New York Ballet, and the American Museum of Natural History.

The couple has other interests, too. In recent years, money has gone to the 92nd Street Y, and City Harvest. In 2009, $5 million went to Southampton Hospital. Harlem Children's Zone, and the Robin Hood Foundation have been supported recently as well. The Paulsons also recently gave $8.5 million to Success Academy as it opens new middle schools in New York City. 

Paulson has also been a strong supporter of his alma mater, NYU, where he has contributed more than $20 million. He’s also contributed more than $11 million to the Spence School.

Despites Paulson's huge gift to the Central Park Conservancy, what happens next as far as the couple's philanthropy remains in the air. Other parks and zoos in the New York City area might see funds down the line. Also look for health, and other outfits supporting the New York City community to receive support. Paulson has been worth over $11 billion, but more like $8.6 million recently.


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Paulson Family Foundation
1251 Avenue of the Americas, 50th Fl.
New York, NY 10020