Sidney Knafel

NET WORTH: Unknown

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Insight Communications

FUNDING AREAS: Education & Youth, Environment, Arts & Culture, Health

OVERVIEW: Sidney Knafel and family do their grantmaking through the Knafel Family Foundation. Knafel strongly supports his alma maters. He is also an art collector. Board memberships often track with this family's grantmaking, which has a Northeast focus.

BACKGROUND: Sidney Knafel holds an A.B. from Harvard University and an MBA from Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. In 1985 he co-founded Insight Communications Company, a multiple system operator that served several Midwestern states. It was acquired by Time Warner Cable for $3 billion.


EDUCATION & YOUTH: Knafel is a steady benefactor of his schools. He is a trustee emeritus of Phillips Academy, class of 1948. The school is home to the Sidney R. Knafel Map Collection. Knafel donated the collection to his school earlier this decade. Meanwhile, he gave a $20 million grant to Harvard last decade and more recently established the $10.5 million Knafel Fund, supporting programs that bring together Harvard faculty from across the university and scholars from around the world to work in private seminars and to create public programs. Knafel is also strongly involved with his late wife Susan's school, Wellesley, where he is a trustee emeritus of the board. He has given millions to the liberal arts college.

Other grantees have included Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Julliard School, The Rockefeller University, and UMichigan's Center for Education for Women.

ENVIRONMENT: The Knafel family, via their foundation, support organizations like American Bird Conservancy, Agricultural Stewardship Association, Environmental Defense Fund, NRDC, Vermont Center for Ecostudies, Vermont Land Trust, and Xerces Society, an "international, nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat." Son Andrew is a farmer in Vermont with a penchant for birdwatching.

ARTS & CULTURE: Knafel sits on the board of trustees of the Frick Collection in New York, which he has strongly supported. He is a collector of French faience pottery. Other grantees included Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Met Opera, and The Met.

HEALTH: The family have been steady benefactors of The Rogosin Institute, which specializes in the treatment of the various types of kidney disease. Knafel sits on the board. The Knafels also support organizations like Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

LOOKING FORWARD: Expect Knafel's steady philanthropy to continue. Down the line, Inside Philanthropy will also have to keep apprised of Knafel's two sons, who sit on the board of the foundation.


The Knafel Family Foundation does not provide a clear avenue of contact but below is address and phone:

Knafel Family Foundation
885 3rd Ave., Ste. 2640
New York City, NY 10022
Telephone: (212) 371-0900