Speyer Family Foundation: New York City Grants

OVERVIEW: The Speyer Family Foundation is the philanthropic vehicle of real estate billionaire Jerry I. Speyer and his wife Katherine. The Speyers have been strong supporters of arts and culture in New York City, where Speyer is chairman of the board of Museum of Modern Art and Katherine chairs the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Other grantmaking in New York City has involved education, health, and more. 

FUNDING AREAS: Arts & Culture, Education, Health

IP TAKE: Annual grantmaking is modest and fluctuates, but there is big money waiting in the wings, here. 

PROFILE: Now in his 70s, billionaire Jerry I. Speyer is one of the founding partners of New York real estate company Tishman Speyer, which controls Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler Center in New York City, among other properties around the world. Speyer is currently chairman and Co-CEO of Tishman Speyer. Speyer grew up in New York City and attended Horace Mann School and Columbia, where he received an undergraduate degree as well as his MBA.

It's no surprise, then, that the Speyer Family Foundation has focused its grantmaking on New York City. The foundation gave around $1.7 million and $3.2 million in grants in recent years, but in past years, its grantmaking has been higher. Assets have been around $3.3 million lately.

One major interest of the Speyers is arts and culture, and Speyer and his wife Katherine hold high positions with some of New York's most prominent institutions. Speyer chairs the board of the Museum of Modern Art and Katherine chairs the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. In recent years, Katherine has been named one of the "50 Most Powerful Women in New York" by Crain's New York Business.

In the 2014 fiscal year, the foundation gave a series of grants totaling more than $1.5 million to Lincoln Center for Performing Arts. In two different years, the foundation gave $1 million grants to Lincoln Center for Performing Arts. It also supports MoMA, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York Stage & Film, and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, among others. It's given money to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, where Katherine once served on the board of trustees.

Another interest of the couple is New York education, and they support Juilliard School, Columbia University (they gave a $200,000 grant to the school in the 2014 fiscal year), the Dalton School, Horace Mann School, Rockefeller University, NYU Steinhardt, and the School of American Ballet. They've also given money to K-12 arts education, including funding for Studio in a School, which "brings visual art to the New York City public schools, community and childcare centers."

In health, the family holds more prominent board memberships; Speyer is vice chair of New York Presbyterian Hospital. The foundation supports Kids of NYU Langone and New York Genome Center, which received $200,000 in the 2014 fiscal year. Speyer Family Foundation also supports Mount Sinai Dubin Breast Center.

The foundation supports the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, an historic church near Columbia University. It also funds New York Community Trust, Community Funds, Inc., and Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, which makes some of the Speyer Family's Foundation a bit opaque. 

It's worth noting that Speyer's son Robert, co-CEO of Tishman Spayer, is also listed as a director at the Speyer Family Foundation, so watch him down the line, too.


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The Speyer Family Foundation does not have a clear avenue for getting in touch, but below is a phone number and an address:

The Speyer Family Foundation, Inc.

45 Rockefeller Plz., 7th Fl.

New York, NY 10111

Telephone: (212) 715-0300