NET WORTH: $15.7 Billion
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Access Industries (Industrialist)
JEWISH FUNDING AREAS: Higher Education, Science Research, Arts & Culture, Israel
OVERVIEW: Len Blavatnik makes gifts through the Blavatnik Family Foundation, though the charity keeps a low profile and doesn't even appear to release tax records. Blavatnik's gifts can be large, and include support of education and Israel. He also established a Jewish cultural nonprofit and moves philanthropy though a more locally-focused charity.
BACKGROUND: Born in Ukraine in 1957 and raised in Moscow, Len Blavatnik received a bachelor's degree from Moscow State University, an M.S. from Columbia University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Blavatnik made sharp investments in post-Soviet aluminum and energy companies and earned a fortune. He's the founder and chairman of Access Industries, a privately held industrial group through which he controls his holdings.
FUNDING PROFILE: Billionaire couple Len Blavatnik and his wife Emily have given big gifts to the Jewish community via their Blavatnik Family Foundation. The couple takes up residence in several different countries, which perhaps explains why the Blavatnik Family Foundation does not appear on the Foundation Center. This makes the full scope of this family's giving difficult to get a handle on. As well, there don't appear to be any clear ways for grantseekers to contact the charity.
The foundation has made high-profile gifts to Harvard, Oxford and New York Academy of Sciences. In the Jewish community, in 2014 the couple via their foundation made a $20 million gift to Tel Aviv University in Israel to create the Blavatnik Initiative, a "multiyear program focused on interdisciplinary scientific research, student film production, and faculty recruitment."
The gift had several components. It helped create the Blavatnik Center for Drug Discovery, which aims to "equip, man and operate a state-of-the-art core laboratory that will serve dozens of drug research groups across the TAU campus, as well as from other Israeli research institutions, at a critical stage in their research." The Blavatnik Computer Science Research Fund aims to "support and promote advanced computer science research at the Blavatnik School of Computer Science. Other components of the gift include the Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center and the Blavatnik Student Film Production Fund.
Blavatnik also sponsors a Colel Chabad food bank and warehouse in Kiryat Malakhi, Israel, which sends food shipments to thousands of poor families.
Len Blavatnik also founded the Blavatnik Archive, a nonprofit "dedicated to the discovery and preservation of historically distinctive and visually compelling artifacts, images and stories that contribute to the study of 20th century Jewish, WWI and WWII history." The organization's holdings total some 90,000 physical and digital assets, including archival photographs, letters, documents and ephemera, and contemporary oral testimonies.
Blavatnik and Emily also move some of their philanthropy through the Provident Foundation, an under the radar charity which supports a number of arts and culture outfits in New York City. Tax records (they are on hand this time), though, do reveal support of Jewish outfits like American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic and ELEM/Youth in Distress, which deals with youth welfare in Israel.
LOOKING FORWARD: Blavatnik is still young and very much engaged in business, but with billions on hand, he's someone who grantseekers should watch in coming years. Hopefully his charities will be more accessible and transparent down the line.
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Provident Foundation does not provide a clear avenue for contact but below is an address:
67 Mason St.
Greenwich, CT 06830