NET WORTH: $5.5 billion
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Commodities Corporation, Caxton Associates
FUNDING AREAS: Education, Economic Opportunity, Arts & Culture, Martin County
OVERVIEW: Bruce and Suzie Kovner established the Kovner Foundation 1986. Through this vehicle the couple supports education, economic opportunity, the arts and the communities of Martin County, Florida.
BACKGROUND: A graduate of Harvard College, Bruce Kovner worked as a writer and cab diver before being hired as a trader at the Commodities Corporation, which is now a division of Goldman Sachs. In 1983, he founded Caxton Associates, a global macro hedge fund. Suzie Kovner is a graduate of Colgate University.
EDUCATION: The Kovners’ education funding “promotes excellence in public and private education by supporting public charter schools that make measurable improvements in children’s lives and supporting educational choice and competition through vouchers, scholarships and other initiatives that give parents and students options.” They have supported some of the largest charter school networks in the U.S., including Success Academy, Achievement First and Uncommon Schools, as well as the Charter School Growth Fund. The Kovners have also supported several advocacy and policy organizations in the area of education, including the American Federation for Children, the Foundation for Excellence in Education and the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard University. The Kovner Foundation runs a signature scholarship program, Kovner Opportunity Scholarships, and supports scholarship programs at the Julliard School, Student Sponsor Partners and Thanks U.S.A., among others.
ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY: Through their foundation, the Kovners support “efforts to create economic and social conditions that promote opportunity for individuals, especially the underprivileged, to flourish.” Specific areas of funding include public policy, economic liberty and property rights, civil rights and international causes. Priorities in the area of public policy include national economic growth and the maintenance of a strong defense. Past policy grantees include conservative organizations such as the American Enterprise Institute, the Institute for the Study of War and the Manhattan Institute. The Kovners also support “research, litigation and advocacy aimed at preventing powerful interests from employing government rules and regulations to gain advantage over the less powerful.” To this end, they have invested in the libertarian organization the Institute for Justice, which “litigates to limit the size and scope of government power and to ensure that all Americans have the right to control their own destinies as free and responsible members of society.” Civil rights grantees include Centurion, the Innocence Project and Lambda Legal, which supports the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The Kovners have also supported the International Rescue Committee.
ARTS & CULTURE: The Kovner Foundation’s arts philanthropy “provides funding to leading performing arts institutions in the United States and abroad.” Bruce Kovner is the vice chair of the board of trustees of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and serves on the boards of the Metropolitan Opera and the Julliard School. Suzie Kovner is a member of the board of trustees of Carnegie Hall. Other past arts recipients include the New World Symphony, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre of Great Britain, the New York Philharmonic, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Museum of Modern Art and the Israeli Chamber Project.
MARTIN COUNTY: The Kovners reside in Martin County, Florida and support several organizations in the area, including the Hobe Sound Community Chest, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Martin County, the Everglades Foundation and the Chamber Music Society of Palm Beach.
LOOKING FORWARD: It is likely that the Kovners will continue to support leading organizations whose work is aligned with their funding initiatives. While their foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals, general inquiries may be made via email at firstname.lastname@example.org