Selz Foundation: Grants for Higher Education

OVERVIEW: The Selz Foundation, the charitable vehicle of veteran financier Bernard Selz and his wife Lisa, gives grants in number of different areas. Its higher education grantmaking involves support for social sciences and the arts at select schools. The couple have endowed professorships and lecture series, and have bankrolled research.

IP TAKE: The Selz Foundation flies under the radar and has a limited web presence. As a result, there's no clear description about what exactly the couple looks for in its higher education grantees. The foundation doesn't accept unsolicited proposals, either.

PROFILE: The Selz Foundation is the philanthropic vehicle of Bernard Selz of Selz Capital and his wife Lisa. Lisa Selz has a degree in Latin from Goucher College. The couple are collectors of pieces from the Middle Ages. Selz sits on such boards as the World Monuments Fund. Another key player at the Selz Foundation is Arnold Syrop, who runs an architecture and design firm in Manhattan and went to Pratt Institute. These forces influence the family's higher education philanthropy.

The foundation flies well under the radar and has a minimal web presence. A look at recent form 990, though, reveals an outfit with a number of different interest areas. The foundation held close to $173 million in assets and gave away around $12 million in a recent fiscal year, to more than 120 grantees. The couple's higher education philanthropy involves the arts and social sciences.

Consider Selz's alma mater, Columbia University, which is home to the Lisa and Bernard Selz Professorship in Medieval Art, as well as the Lisa and Bernard Selz Professorship in Pre-Columbian Art and Archaeology. The couple via their foundation recently gave Columbia a $765,000 grant. The Selzes have also recently supported College of the Redwoods, a two-year school in Eureka, California. They've funded the research of professor of archeology, Justine Shaw, whose work focuses on the Mexican site of a former Mayan province. The school recently received a grant of over $60,000 from the couple.

Other recent grantees include Goucher College, which recently received a $550,000 grant. There's a Goucher Prison Education Partnership, which the Selz Foundation supports; Hunter College; Pratt Institute; Institute for the Study of the Ancient World; Marymount Manhattan College, where they've supported the Bedford Hills College Program; Penn Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology, where they've supported exhibition Native American Voices ; University of California Regents; and NYU Institute of Fine Arts, where the couple recently funded a conservation fellowship. Another important grantee here is LaGuardia Community College, which received a $1 million grant from the Selz couple in 2014. Lisa Selz sits on the board of the community college and believes in the importance of these institutions. The couple also supports She’s the First, which "provides scholarships to girls in low-income countries with the goal of creating first-generation graduates and our next generation of global."

Internationally, it's worth mentioning that the couple supports Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archeology at Oxford University. Selz and Lisa were lead supporters of new galleries of Ancient Egypt and Nubia at Ashmolean Museum.

Again, this is a foundation that isn't easily accessible and it's tough to tell exactly what Selz looks for in its higher education grantees. Contact information, however, is listed below.


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Selz Foundation, Inc.

1370 Ave. of the Americas, 24th Fl.

New York City, NY 10019

Telephone: (212) 554-5044

Contact: Bernard T. Selz, Pres.