Howard and Abby Milstein

NET WORTH: Unknown

SOURCE OF WEALTH: New York Private Bank & Trust, Merchant Bank; financier

FUNDING AREAS: Medical Research, Education & Youth, Arts & Culture, Law Enforcement & Homeland Security, Religious & Community Organizations, Civic Engagement, History

OVERVIEW: Howard and Abby Milstein move their philanthropy through the Howard and Abby Milstein Foundation, which focuses on seven key areas: medical/scientific research, higher education and youth, history, religious and communal organizations, arts and culture, law enforcement and homeland security, and civic engagement.  The foundation applies a venture philanthropy approach to giving. 

BACKGROUND:  Howard P. Milstein graduated with a B.A. in economics from Cornell University in 1973 and with a JD/MBA from Harvard University in 1977.  He joined the family business in 1979 and is chairman and CEO of the Milstein family’s business operations, including Milstein Properties. He is also chairman, President and CEO of New York Private Bank & Trust and its operating bank, Emigrant Bank.  


MEDICAL RESEARCH, BIOTECHNOLOGY & SCIENCE: Grantees include American Skin Association, New York Blood Center, Doctors Without Borders, United Hospital Fund, and Weill Cornell Medical College.

EDUCATION & YOUTH:  Milstein strongly supports his alma mater Cornell University, where he sits on the board. The family recently gave Cornell $20 million to establish the Milstein Program in Technology and Humanity, a collaboration between the College of Arts and Sciences and Cornell Tech.

Abby graduated from Radcliffe and is involved in Harvard leadership. Grantees include Riverdale Country School (Abby was a trustee), DC College Access, and New York Public Library, where Abby is vice chairman of the board.

ARTS & CULTURE: Abby was a trustee of the Jewish Museum, which the couple has supported. Other grantees have included Cleveland Orchestra, Royal College of Music, and Shakespeare Theatre Company.

LAW ENFORCEMENT & HOMELAND SECURITY: Grantees include New York City Police Foundation, National Crime Prevention Council, and Federal Law Enforcement Foundation.

RELIGIOUS & COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS: Grantees include American Jewish Committee, Catholic Youth Organization, and UJA Federation of New York.

 CIVIC ENGAGEMENT: New York City is an important region of giving for the family, with support going to Bryant Park Corporation, New York Legal Assistance Group, and Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce.

HISTORY: Grantees include Historic Hudson Valley and Thomas Jefferson Foundation.     

LOOKING FORWARD: The Milstein family was worth $3.1 billion in 2015 and considered one of America’s richest families. It’s unclear how much Milstein and Abby are worth now but expect their steady giving to continue, with an eye to New York City.