NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Caxton Associates, A.R.T. Advisors
FUNDING AREAS: Arts & Culture, Justice & Human Services, Education, Los Angeles Community, New York Community
OVERVIEW: Aaron Sosnick moves his philanthropy through the La Vida Feliz Foundation, which gave away some $22 million in a recent year. Sosnick has ties in both New York and Los Angeles and outfits in these two cities receive a majority of Sosnick's attention. Grantmaking includes arts and culture, human services and education. Recent large grants have gone to the University of Southern California and New York Landmarks Conservancy. On both coasts, Sosnick has also been rather involved with issues of alternative transportation, the environment, and civic development.
BACKGROUND: Aaron M. Sosnick attended the now-defunct Wagner High School at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines and graduated in 1984. His father was also a faculty member at Wagner. Sosnick graduated from MIT in 1988 and joined Caxton Associates, founded by Bruce Kovner. Sosnick runs A.R.T. Advisors, a statistical arbitrage fund that operates from Caxton's offices. Sosnick keeps a very low profile.
ARTS & CULTURE: Aaron Sosnick, through the La Vida Feliz Foundation, has recently supported outfits such as Black Rock Arts Foundation, City Lore, "a New York City-based cultural heritage/folklife nonprofit organization," Creative Time, which has "commissioned and presented ambitious public art projects with thousands of artists throughout New York City, across the country, around the world—and now even in outer space," dance company Esse Aficionado, FIGMENT project, "a forum for the creation and display of participatory and interactive art by emerging artists across disciplines," Howl Arts, "a nonprofit organization dedicating to preserving the past and celebrating the contemporary culture of the East Village and Lower East Side," Municipal Art Society of New York, Make Music New York, Third Street Music School Settlement and Coney Island USA, "a not-for-profit arts organization dedicated to the cultural and economic revitalization of the Coney Island neighborhood."
JUSTICE & HUMAN SERVICES: Grantees have included Centurion Ministries, "a secular nonprofit organization whose primary mission is to free and vindicate from prison those who are completely innocent of the crimes for which they have been wrongly convicted," Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters, Catholic Charities, Grace Outreach, which "serves low-income women of all ages who seek to enhance their academic skills, pursue higher education and find employment," Hester Street Collaborative, "created to improve the physical environment in underserved NYC neighborhoods," Project Renewal, "a New York City nonprofit organization that helps homeless and low-income men and women who often have a drug addiction [or] mental illness," Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners, "founded in 1994 in response to the growing financial disenfranchisement of Upper Manhattan," Lower Eastside Girls Club, and more.
EDUCATION: Sosnick has steadily supported University of Southern California. Much of this money has gone towards supporting Math for America Los Angeles. Sosnick has been heavily supportive of Math for America on the national level as well, and has played in poker tournaments to raise money for the outfit. Other grantees have included CollegeSpring, which "partners with schools and community organizations to help students from low-income background," Corpus Christi School, Inner City Scholarship Fund, Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, Children's Storefront, and Urban Assembly, "a non-profit organization that creates and serves a family of New York City public secondary schools."
LOS ANGELES COMMUNITY: Sosnick's philanthropy involves a number of outfits in the Los Angeles community that work in issues of transportation, civic space, and the environment. Grantees have included Friends of Griffith Park, Friends of the Los Angeles River, Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition, an "advocacy organization working to improve the bicycling environment and the local quality of life," Southern California Streets Initiative, and Longbeachize an outfit founded by Long Beach State students to "promote biking as an ecologically health conscious and invigorating alternative to local commuting."
NEW YORK CITY COMMUNITY: Similar philanthropy has taken place in the Big Apple. Sosnick has supported New York Landmarks Conservancy, Fund for the City of New York, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Outstanding Renewal Enterprises, Recycle-A-Bicycle, Historic District Council, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, and Transportation Alternatives, among others.
OTHER: Sosnick has set up donor-advised fund via Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, through which tens of millions have flowed. This makes the full scope of Sosnick's philanthropy difficult to get a handle on.
LOOKING FORWARD: In his late 40s, Aaron Sosnick flies well under the radar, hasn't said much about his philanthropy, nor does he appear to be racking up any board memberships. In other words, it's unclear what direction Sosnick's philanthropy will take. What's clear is that Sosnick's foundation does have quite a large asset base. This makes Sosnick a rather intriguing figure.
The La Vida Feliz Foundation does not provide a clear avenue for getting in touch with Sosnick, but below is an address
La Vida Feliz Foundation
501 Silverside Rd., Ste. 123
Wilmington, DE 19809