Arnhold Foundation: Grants for Higher Education

OVERVIEW: The philanthropic vehicle of Henry Arnhold, the Arnhold Foundation’s grantmaking gives big to the performing arts, but significant sums have also gone to higher education, international affairs, and health, as well as initiatives in which these focus areas overlap to some degree.

IP TAKE: The Arnhold Foundation’s higher ed giving trends towards institutions in New York, but universities in other areas are not out of the running. However, the foundation does not have much of a web presence or a clear avenue for getting in touch.

PROFILE: Henry H. Arnhold was born in Dresden, Germany in 1921, and comes from a banking family from his city of birth. His Jewish family's bank fell victim to "Aryanization" and when World War II broke out, Arnhold was arrested. Fleeing first to Sweden and then Cuba, Arnhold reached the United States in 1942. In the United States, Arnhold studied at UCLA, had a stint in the U.S. Army, and joined his family's investment bank, Arnhold & S. Bleichroeder, where he served as chairman starting in 1960. Arnhold moves his philanthropy through the Arnhold Foundation, which held more than $350 million in a recent year.

Arts and culture are big areas of interest, but the Arnhold Foundation's grantmaking also involves support for higher education, especially in New York. On that front, funds have recently gone to New York-based higher education institutions including the Bank Street College of Education, Columbia Business School, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the Hunter College Foundation (which recently received $275,000 grant), Icahn School of Medicine, and New School, which received $900,000. Arnhold himself is also a trustee at the New School, where he provided an endowment for the Willy Brandt Professorship and recently made a $7 million gift to the school's Zohlberg Institute on Migration and Mobility (reporting by IP here).

At the same time, universities outside of the Big Apple are also on this funder’s radar. Some recent examples include a $100,000 gift to Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music, two grants to the University of Pennsylvania totalling about $500,000 combined; another award of $500,000 to the University of California Santa Barbara, where it previously helped establish the John P. Arnhold Presidential Chair in English; and sums in the tens of thousands of dollars to the University of California and the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

Arnhold has also shown a proclivity for support higher ed in his native land of Germany. For example, the Arnhold Foundation also offers scholarship support to German dance students though the Esther Arnhold Seligmann Scholarship for Excellence at the Palucca University of Dance Dresden. Given jointly with the Esther and Otto Seligmann Foundation, “[t]he scholarship comprises a six-week study period at the American Dance Festival (ADF) and a one-week stay in New York,” and “is awarded annually to students at the Palucca University of Dance Dresden.” Arnhold has also endowed a “guest professorship at the Georg Eckert Institute [for International Textbook Research] to honor the legacy of his grandfather,” Georg Arnhold, and the foundation has also given support to the Hans Arnhold Center at the American Academy in Berlin, for which the Arnhold family as a whole is “the primary source of funding.”

Arnhold has also been involved in yet another area of higher ed - medical research. Working jointly with the Mulago Foundation, in 2014 the Arnhold foundation “made a visionary gift to establish The Arnhold Global Health Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. As per the institute, its mission is “ to broaden the understanding and purview of global health, making its hidden infrastructure visible so that new solutions can be developed, and impact can be scaled.”

Though its higher ed giving has been widespread, the Arnhold foundation has a minimal web presence and its grantmaking policies are equally difficult to pin down.

One last point of clarification: this profile refers to Arnhold Foundation, Inc., not to be confused with the John and Jody Arnhold Foundation, a separate organization headed by Arnhold's son John and daughter-in-law Jody. John is, however, also involved with the Arnhold Foundation, Inc., serving as Secretary and Treasurer.


  • Henry H. Arnhold, President
  • John P. Arnhold, Secretary and Treasurer


Arnhold Foundation, Inc.
15 Maiden Ln., Ste. 500
New York City, NY United States 10038-5117
Telephone: (212) 269-8628