David Gottesman

NET WORTH: $1.66 billion

SOURCE OF WEALTH: First Manhattan

JEWISH FUNDING AREAS: Jewish Education & Youth, Jewish Community Organizations, Jewish Religious Outfits, Israel

OVERVIEW: David Gottesman, his wife Ruth and family move their philanthropy through the Gottesman Fund, which was established in 1965, and gave away some $20.4 million in a recent year. The family is dedicated to enhancing and perpetuating Jewish life in the United States, and improving the quality of life for Israel’s inhabitants. The Gottesman family directs millions to PEF Israel Endowment Funds, making it tough to get a full scope of this funder's philantropy. This is a billionaire family, though, that gives away millions to Jewish causes annually.

BACKGROUND: David Sanford "Sandy" Gottesman graduated from Trinity College in Connecticut and received an MBA from Harvard. Gottesman met Warren Buffett in 1962 and was an early investor in Berkshire Hathaway. Gottesman founded his own investment firm, First Manhattan Co. in 1964.


JEWISH EDUCATION & YOUTH: Gottesman's wife Ruth has a master's degree in developmental education and an Ed.D. in human cognition and learning. Perhaps this is one reason why the family focuses on education. Last decade, Gottesman and his wife Ruth gave a $25 million gift to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University to establish the Ruth L. and David S. Gottesman Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. The Gottesmans have continued to support Yeshiva via the Gottesman Fund. Other grantees include Abraham Joshua Heschel School, Drisha Institute for Jewish Education, Center for Initiatives in Jewish Educatoin, SAR Academy, Hillel, Jewish Primary Day School, Ma'ayanot Yeshiva High School For Girls, Ramaz School, Golda Och Academy, and Solomon Schechter School of Westchester. The Gottesmans have also been strong funders of Jewish camps, giving steady grants to Foundation for Jewish Camp, which represents more than 40 nonprofit Jewish camps in the New York area.

JEWISH COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS: The Gottesmans have strongly supported JCC Manhattan and UJA Federation, among others.

JEWISH RELIGIOUS OUTFITS: The family has funded outfits like Congregation Or Zarua, Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, Congregation Shearith Israel, and Ohavi Zedek Synagogue.

OTHER: The Gottesman Fund's grantmaking also involves Jewish arts and culture institutions like Zamir Choral Foundation, "a musical community that was created to inspire Jewish life." The family has also directed funds towards outfits that work for/in Israel like Birthright Israel Foundation, Friends Of The Israel Defense Forces, and Israel Center for Excellence Through Education. In addition, in recent years, the family's fund has directed tens of millions to P.E.F. Israel Endowment Fund, an outfit founded in 1922 to enable the direct distribution of funds to selected and approved charitable organizations in Israel.

LOOKING FORWARD: Expect the family's robust philanthropy to continue. In a recent tax year, their family fund held nearly $350 million in assets. For a look at this funder's overall philanthropy, read our Wall Street Profile of


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The Gottesman Fund does not provide a clear avenue of contact but below is an address: 

The Gottesman Fund

1818 N St. N.W., Ste. 400

Washington, DC 20036

Contact: Diane Bennett Eidman, Secretary