Leonard and Allison Stern

NET WORTH: $4.5 billion

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Hartz Group

FUNDING AREAS: Education & Youth, Human Services and Homelessness, Environment 

OVERVIEW: Leonard Stern and family are major education givers, particularly to Stern's alma mater, New York University. Stern also founded a nonprofit organization to help homeless families in New York City.

BACKGROUND: Leonard N. Stern graduated from New York University, where he received both his bachelor's degree and his MBA. He joined his father's pet supply business in 1959 and seven years later expanded into real estate, acquiring a New Jersey warehouse. His Hartz Mountain firm owns over 38 million square feet of real estate, largely in the New Jersey area. Stern sold the pet business for $350 million in 2000.

ISSUES:

EDUCATION & YOUTH: Stern is a major patron of his alma mater NYU, home to the New York University Stern School of Business. He gave a $30 million gift to NYU in 1982 and continues to support the school. More recently, Stern gave $5.75 million to establish the Leonard N. Stern New York City Scholarship to support exceptional New York City high-school seniors who aim to study business at NYU.

HUMAN SERVICES: Stern founded Homes for the Homeless (HFH), whose mission is to "help create lasting solutions for families experiencing homelessness through self-sufficiency planning, goal setting, and achievement." Stern founded the organization in the 1980s, deeply troubled by the growing number of homeless families in New York City. He partnered with local government and Cathedral of St. Johns of the Divine to tackle the problem. 

HFH helps clients develop practical skills such as financial literacy and job readiness for adults, and enriches the lives of children through educational programs, youth development, and recreational activities. Its first facility for homeless families, Prospect in the South Bronx, houses over 88 families and 125 children daily. Today, HFH has five sites throughout New York City.

ENVIRONMENT: Last decade, Stern made a $7 million gift to aid the Wildlife Conservation Society fund for the Central Park Zoo.

LOOKING FORWARD: Stern has made major gifts independently of a family foundation. A vehicle called the Leonard Stern Foundation's grantmaking has been negligible lately, per tax records, but perhaps giving will ramp up.

LINK: Homes for the Homeless