OVERVIEW: The Robbins Family Foundation (formerly the Robbins Foundation) has only been around since 2008 but has been quite active in New York since its founding, giving primarily in education and health.
FUNDING AREAS: Education, poverty, health, Jewish causes
IP TAKE: Hedge fund billionaire Larry Robbins doesn't just write checks, he also gets involved in organizations. Still in his 40’s, Robbins is certainly a funder to watch.
PROFILE: Billionaire Larry Robbins is high in the hedge fund food chain owing to the success of his New York-based firm, Glenview Capital Management. Prior to founding his own GCM, he was partner at Leon Cooperman's Omega Advisors. Most of his foundation's grantmaking takes place in New York, where the foundation operates, and in Illinois, where Robbins was born.
Robbins' New York philanthropy is underpinned by active civic engagement. Robbins sits on many boards, with a particular interest in education and poverty.
Robbins has long been deep into the charter school and education reform movement. He’s chairman of the board at KIPP New York, the local branch of the national charter school network founded by fellow UPenn graduate and friend Mike Feinberg. Robbins also chairs the board of the New York and Relay Graduate School of Education and is a board member of Teach for America New York and the Robin Hood Foundation.
Robbins has given heavily to all the organizations on which he serves as a board member, with the Robin Hood Foundation receiving around $15 million over several recent years. An important thing to note about the Robin Hood Foundation is that, while known for fighting poverty, it has an education component as well. In fact, Robbins chairs the Education Committee at Robin Hood and was honored by the foundation for his work.
Apart from Robin Hood, KIPP has received more than $4 million over the years, and Teach for America has also received large sums of money. More modest, but equally consistent support has gone to Harlem Village Academies, Harlem Children's Zone, the Posse Foundation, and Sesame Street. The foundation also recently gave $7.5 million to the University of Pennsylvania.
Outside of education, Robbins has funded anti-poverty and hunger outfits. Besides the Robin Hood Foundation, he's been a steady funder of Baby Buggy, providing clothes, gear and services to children and the Metropolitan New York Coordinating Council on Jewish Poverty. Finally, the Jewish advocacy outfit UJA Federation has received more than $2 million.
Robbins is also deep into cancer research, perhaps in part because of his previous role at Omega Advisors, billionaire Leon Cooperman's company. Robbins worked for Cooperman, who is vice chair of Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation and an active cancer philanthropist. Robbins has supported Damon Runyon in recent years, as well as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Ira Sohn Conference Foundation (around $50,000 annually over the last few years) and the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.
Apart from cancer research, Robbins also seems into supporting ALS and has given annually to Project ALS. The foundation has also been a supporter of New York's hospitals and medical centers, including NYU's network of hospitals and Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.
It's also worth noting that Robbins' first wife Amy also runs a separate foundation, the Nduna Foundation, which gives to a range of global causes and has received at least $20 million from the Robbins Foundation since 2010.
Robbins money has yet to touch the many artistic centers of New York. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that Robbins is recently remarried to Sarahmay Wesemael, who has a dancing background.
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