NET WORTH: $5.6 billion
SOURCE OF WEALTH: The Wonderful Company
FUNDING AREAS: Arts & Culture, Education & Youth, Health & Human Services, Policy & Global, Environment, Jewish Causes
OVERVIEW: Stewart and Lynda Resnick move philanthropy through the Resnick Family Foundation, which gave away around $26 million in a recent year. The couple’s philanthropy is diverse and interests include the arts, public health, and policy.
BACKGROUND: Born in Highland Park, New Jersey, the son of a Yiddish-speaking Ukrainian bartender, Stewart A. Resnick graduated with a B.S. and a J.D. from UCLA. Resnick has been President and CEO of The Wonderful Company since 1962. The privately-held Los Angeles-based multi-billion dollar global company is behind such brands as Wonderful Pistachios, Wonderful Halos, POM Wonderful, FIJI Water, Teleflora and JUSTIN Wine.
Lynda R. Resnick grew up in Philadelphia in a Jewish family. She ran a successful marketing and advertising company. Resnick is vice chair and co-owner, along with her husband Stewart Resnick, of The Wonderful Company.
ARTS & CULTURE: Lynda is a life trustee of LACMA, which has received millions from the couple. In the past, they appeared to particularly key in on LA Zoo. Other grantees have included Los Angeles Opera; P.S. Arts; Farhang Foundation, which deals with Iranian art and culture; and Aspen Music Festival and School. Lynda is also a trustee emerita of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
EDUCATION & YOUTH: Last decade, the couple gave a $20 million initial gift to Caltech, creating the Resnick Sustainability Institute, whose mission is to “foster transformational advances in energy science and technology through research, education and communication.” Stewart, meanwhile, is a life trustee of Bard College in Upstate New York, home to the Resnick Commons. They’ve also given more than $1 million to West Point, also in Upstate New York. In the past, Stewart directed more steady funds to his alma mater UCLA Anderson.
The family have business ties to the Central Valley and launched the Wonderful College Prep Academy, a “free public charter school serving grades kindergarten through 12.” They’ve also supported California Charter School Association. Other grantees have included Drake University, Young Eisner Scholars and USC Annenberg School.
HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES: Stewart is a prostate cancer survivor. They’ve directed millions to Prostate Cancer Foundation. The family also has a strong interest in public health. The couple gave a $25 million to The Milken Institute, establishing the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Center for Public Health.
The Resnicks have given at least $1 million to National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University and have steadily supported Bancroft, “a leading non-profit serving individuals with autism, intellectual disabilities and brain injuries since 1883.” Other grantees have included Women’s Guild Cedars-Sinai, Hearing Health Foundation, and Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation, which received a 7-figure gift via the Resnick Foundation in a recent year.
POLICY & GLOBAL: The Resnicks are heavily involved with the Aspen Institute, the international nonprofit think tank. Lynda is a trustee of the institute. The couple created a $15 million endowment to the Aspen Institute towards the Resnick Aspen Action Forum, an annual five-day event held in Aspen, CO, which “encourages its attendees to commit to putting their service ideas into action.” The Resnicks are also involved with RAND Corporation, and gave a $1 million gift to the Pardee RAND Graduate School to create the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Endowed Scholarship.
They also appear to be interested in grassroots and progressive organizations like Drug Policy Alliance, Equal Justice Initiative, Los Angeles Brotherhood Crusade - Black United Fund, Youth Justice Coalition. On a global level, the Resnicks gave a six-figure grant to Tony Blair Institute for Global Change recently via their foundation and have supported FIJI Water Foundation, which “focuses on providing clean water access to rural communities, building educational facilities and infrastructure that benefit children, teenagers and adults, and providing access to healthcare services to underprivileged communities.”
OTHER: The Resnicks recently gave a seven-figure grant to Conservation International. Other grantees have included National Resources Defense Council. They’ve also supported Jewish organizations like Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Politz Day School of Cherry Hill, American Friends of IDC, and Friends of Israel Defense Forces.
LOOKING FORWARD: Expect the couple’s robust and varied giving to continue. Their company has been mired in controversy as their companies, during historic patterns of drought and climate change, are thought to consume more of California’s water than any other family, farm, or company.
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