Bernard and Lisa Selz

NET WORTH: Unknown

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Furman Selz, Selz Capital

FUNDING AREAS: Education, Arts & Culture, Health & Human Services, Policy, Environment & Conservation

OVERVIEW: Bernard Selz and his wife, Lisa, support education, the anti-vaccination causes, arts and culture, health and human services, policy, and environmental causes through the Selz Foundation. In a recent year, their grantmaking totaled about $12 million. One special interest is archeology and the restoration of artifacts from the middle ages. The Selz Foundation works only with preselected organizations.

BACKGROUND: Bernard Selz is a graduate of Columbia University. Early in his career, he worked at the financial firms Lazard Frères and Seiden & De Cuevas. In 1973, he co-founded the investment firm Furman Selz, and in 2004, he founded Selz Capital, a hedge fund. Lisa Pagliaro Selz is a graduate of Goucher College. The Selzes are collectors of medieval art and artifacts.


EDUCATION: Bernard and Lisa Selz have provided major support for the social sciences with an emphasis on archeology at colleges and universities in New York City. At Bernard Selz’s alma mater, Columbia, the couple has endowed professorships in medieval art and Pre-Columbian art and archaeology. The Selzes also fund New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts and Institute for the Study of the Ancient World. Lisa Selz has demonstrated interest and support for community colleges and serves on the board of directors at New York City’s LaGuardia Community College, which received a $1 million grant from the Selz Foundation in 2014. Other higher education grantees include College of the Redwoods, Hunter College, Marymount Manhattan College and the Goucher College Prison Education Partnership.

The Selzes also support several K-12 private and charter schools. Past grantees include the Collegiate School, Covenant Christian Ministries Academy, the De La Salle Institute, Harbor Science and Arts Charter School and the Millbrook School. Lisa Selz serves on the board of trustees of the Allen-Stevenson School in New York City.

ARTS, CULTURE & HISTORIC PRESERVATION: The Selzes support a broad range of organizations in the area of arts and culture both in the U.S. and abroad. Bernard Selz is a trustee of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. Through their foundation the couple has also supported several other museums, including the Penn Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, the Brooklyn Museum, the Dallas Museum of Art, the National Museum of the American Indian and the Frick Collection. Other cultural grantees in the U.S. include the American Classical Orchestra, the Jacob Burns Film Center and Montana’s Livingston Center for Art and Culture.

Internationally, the couple has supported the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archeology at Oxford University, investing specifically in the museum’s Ancient Egypt and Sudan collection. In 2009, the Selzes gave a $1.21 million gift to the World Monuments Fund, where Selz serves on the board of trustees. Other past grantees include the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Les Arts Florissants, a Baroque music ensemble based in France, and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs at the Palais du Louvre.

POLICY: The Selz family’s philanthropy in the area of policy prioritizes libertarian and conservative causes. Past grantees include the Cato Institute, the Manhattan Institute, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, the Empire Center for Public Policy, and the Institute for Justice. They have also supported the Drug Policy Alliance.

HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES: The Selz family’s human services funding has prioritized poverty, hunger, and organizations that support the adoption of orphans. Recent grantees in the area of poverty and hunger include Greater Life, which works with the underprivileged in Newark, New Jersey; Hartley House, a community center in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City; and the Livingston Food Pantry in Montana. The Selzes’ adoption grantees have included Spence-Chapin, New Hope for Children, and the Donaldson Adoption Institute. The Selzes have also supported a limited number of health-related causes including the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Calvalry Hospital in the Bronx section of New York City.

Lisa Selz also serves as president of the Informed Consent Action Network, which spreads misinformation about vaccines. Del Bigtree, a former daytime television show producer with no medical background, serves as the ICAF’s public face and chief executive. He has headlined events in Jewish Orthodox communities where measles has become an epidemic.

ANIMALS & ENVIRONMENT: The couple’s giving in this area has prioritized the conservation and care of animals. Past grantees include the Nature Conservancy, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the World Wildlife Fund, the North Shore Animal League and the SPCA of Westchester.

LOOKING FORWARD: The Selzes have indicated that their foundation will work only with preselected organizations in their areas of interest. They have also poured more than $3 million into the anti-vaccination movement, predominately funding the Informed Consent Action Network, a fledgling charity that promotes non-scientific misinformation about vaccines.


Selz Foundation, Inc.
1370 Ave. of the Americas, 24th Fl.
New York City, NY 10019
Telephone: (212) 554-5044