Ted and Annette Lerner

NET WORTH: $5 billion family net worth

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Lerner Enterprises 

FUNDING AREAS: Education & Youth, Health & Human Services, Jewish Causes, Arts & Culture

OVERVIEW: Ted and Annette Lerner and family move philanthropy through the Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Foundation, which gave away nearly $2 million in a recent year. The foundation supports a variety of organizations that address cultural, medical and Jewish concerns. The Mid-Atlantic is an important region of giving.

BACKGROUND: Ted Lerner was raised in an Orthodox Jewish family in Northwest Washington, D.C. He attended George Washington University, first receiving an Associate of Arts degree and then in 1949 graduating with an L.L.B. from The George Washington University Law School.  In 1952, a 26-year-old Lerner borrowed $250 to start Lerner Enterprises. The company has developed more than 20 million square feet of real estate. Lerner owns the Washington Nationals baseball team.


EDUCATION & YOUTH: The Lerners are major patrons of George Washington University. Not only did Lerner graduate from the school but daughter Marla and son Mark are alums. Marla's husband Robert Tanenbaum, a trustee of the university, also graduated from GWU. Gifts to the university include $5 million, which named its new fitness and recreation building the Annette and Theodore Lerner Family Health and Wellness Center. The family launched Lerner Endowed Opportunity Scholarship Fund at GWU. 

The Lerners have supported other colleges and universities with which they have a personal connection, including Wesleyan University, where a grandchild graduated. Other grantees include Vassar College, Georgetown Day School, Johns Hopkins, DC Public Education Fund, Fight for Children, and Bright Beginnings, which works with homeless children.

HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES: Mark Lerner is a cancer survivor. Support has gone to Arlington Free Clinic, Children's Hospital Foundation, ALS Association, and Friends of Cancer Research.

JEWISH CAUSES: The Lerners are strongly supportive of Jewish causes—in the Mid-Atlantic, nationally, and in Israel. Mark Lerner is on the board of JCC of Greater Washington, which the family supports. Other grantees include American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science, American Friends of the Hebrew University, Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, and Ohr Kodesh Congregation, the Lerners' synagogue. 

ARTS & CULTURE: Grantees include Imagination Stage, McCallum Theater, The Kennedy Center, and Palm Springs Art Museum. The Lerners spend some of their time in Palm Springs, California. 

LOOKING FORWARD: Expect this billionaire family's steady giving to continue. The next generation of Lerners, Cohens, and Tanenbaums should be watched as their philanthropy develops. Family members are on the books of the foundation and also work for Lerner Enterprises. 


Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Foundation
2000 Tower Oaks Blvd, Eighth Floor
Rockville, MD 20852