How the Tobers Support The Arts in New York City

In his 80s, Donald G. Tober is chairman of Sugar Foods Corporation, a food manufacturing and marketing company. He and his wife Barbara have a charitable vehicle called the Barbara and Donald Tober Foundation. The foundation flies under the radar, with a minimal web presence and no clear avenues for getting in touch. What stands out from examining the foundation's most recent 990s, though, is that the couple zeroes in on New York City in their philanthropy, and is especially interested in arts and culture.

Part of the reason for this arts focus is Barbara Tober, an arts advocate and president of Acronym Inc., a firm which invests in art-related projects. Barbara spent some forty years advertising and magazine publishing, including at Conde Nast, where she served as editor-in-chief of Brides magazine for years. Barbara has served as chair of Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York, and is currently chair emerita. The couple has supported MAD, to the tune of $365,000 in a recent fiscal year. The Tobers have bankrolled other New York City museums such as American Folk Art Museum, The Met, Museum of the City of New York, El Museo Del Barrio and Whitney Museum of American Art.

Tober and Barbara also earmark sums for New York City dance outfits such as Alvin Ailey Dance, Career Transition for Dancers, which "Offers career counseling, scholarships and workshops in New York and Los Angeles for dancers transitioning out of careers as performers," National Dance Institute, and Shen Wei Dance Arts, a company which "aspires to foster a unique cross-cultural dialogue of Western and Asian arts and cultures within and beyond the global dance community." They've also funded music outfits such as Jazz at Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Opera, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.

While a long stream of arts and culture outfits have shown up on the Tober Foundation's recent tax records, it's worth noting that some of the couple's largest sums through their foundation have gone to health; New York Presbyterian Fund received some $540,000 in recent fiscal years.

In a recent tax year, the Tober Foundation did around $989,000 in grantmaking. Again, this is a foundation that flies well under the radar, so information on what the Tobers are looking for in their New York City arts grantees is limited.

Related: Barbara and Donald Tober Foundation: New York City Grants