NET WORTH: $3.4 billion
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Samson Resources
JEWISH FUNDING AREAS: Education, Youth, Israel
OVERVIEW: Lynn Schusterman moves her giving through the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation, a robust philanthropic vehicle that strongly supports Jewish causes. In a recent year, some $70 million went out the door. Jewish grantmaking spans education and youth, as well as support and development of Jerusalem and Israel. Schusterman has given large sums to Birthright Israel and Brandeis University. The foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals.
BACKGROUND: Lynn Schusterman attended University of Miami. She is the widow of Oklahoma wildcatter Charles Schusterman, who built Samson Resources, an oil and natural gas company. In 2011 the Schusterman family decided to sell most of Samson to a K.K.R-led group for $7.2 billion. Schusterman resides in Tulsa, New York and Jerusalem.
SCHUSTERMAN FOUNDATION: Established in 1987 by Charles and Lynn Schusterman, the Schusterman Foundation describes itself as a "global organization that seeks to ignite the passion and unleash the power in young people to create positive change for themselves, the Jewish community and the broader world." The foundation works within the Tulsa community, and another core focus area is on national education. The foundation also focuses on the Jewish community and even has an office in Israel.
As far as Jewish causes are concerned, the Schusterman Foundation states that it aims to help "build inclusive Jewish communities, strengthen the State of Israel and repair the world." The foundation is especially interested in "pluralistic organizations that directly engage large numbers of young Jews from teens to young adults" as well as programs that foster leaders. Schusterman's partners include American Israel Education Foundation; Asylum Arts, "a global network for Jewish culture"; Hebrew Union College; Hillel; and the Moishe House, "an international organization providing meaningful Jewish experiences to young adults in their twenties."
The Schusterman Foundation has also been a steady backer of Birthright Israel, community service organization B'nai B'rith International, and Brandeis University. Brandeis is home to the Schusterman Center of Israel Studies.
The foundation also has initiatives of its own that support the Jewish community. ROI Community, for instance, "connects dynamic Jewish leaders from around the globe, enabling them to turn their passion into action and shape the future of the Jewish world." REALITY, meanwhile, is a leadership development effort that takes place in Israel. Connection Points also brings together young Jewish leaders. Discussions have included "pluralism in Israel, social change in South Africa, women entrepreneurship, LGBTQ activism, and Jewish food culture and Jewish art."
LOOKING FORWARD: Schusterman has been a major player in this space for years. As a Giving Pledge signatory and a billionaire, there's plenty more left to give.
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