Thomas Freston

NET WORTH: $300 million


FUNDING AREAS: Policy & Global, Education & Youth, Other 

OVERVIEW: Thomas Freston and family conduct their philanthropy through the Tom Freston Foundation, which gave around $104,000 in a recent year. Grantmaking out of the foundation has been modest lately and grantees have varied from year to year. One interest is policy and global issues; Freston sits on the board of ONE Campaign. 

BACKGROUND: Thomas E. Freston grew up In Rowayton, Connecticut, and received a B.A. from Saint Michael's College and an MBA from New York University. He worked in advertising and ran a textile business in Afghanistan and India. He went on to become CEO of Viacom as well as chairman and CEO of MTV Networks, MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1, Comedy Central, and other networks.


POLICY & GLOBAL: Given Freston's career abroad, it is no surprise his philanthropy considers global causes. Freston sits on the board of directors of ONE Campaign, "an organization of 9 million plus members, taking action to end poverty, AIDS, and other preventable disease," and has supported the organization via his foundation. He has also supported New America, a think-tank, as well as the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, and Give 2 Asia, among others.

EDUCATION & YOUTH: Grantees include Edible Schoolyard NYC, and USC.

OTHER: Freston supports Exploring the Arts, Turtle Conservancy and Robin Hood Foundation.

LOOKING FORWARD: Freston is in his early 70s and still engaged in business but perhaps he will make more grants in the coming years. Freston also may have other avenues of grantmaking, and some important grants may be missing from this rundown. 


The Tom Freston Foundation does not provide a clear avenue of contact but below an address:

Tom Freston Foundation
57 East 66th Street
New York, NY 10021