Charles and Merryl Snow Zegar

NET WORTH: $1.88 billion


FUNDING AREAS: Education, Science & Medicine, Human Services & Economic Opportunity, Nutrition & Health, Justice & Human Rights, Arts, Environment, International 

OVERVIEW: Charles Zegar and his wife Merryl Snow's largest contributions have gone to NYU, where he is on the board of trustees. The Giving Pledge signatory seems to be ramping up his giving through his Zegar Family Foundation, which gives in a number of interest areas. The foundation has a limited website that does not detail specific grantees. 

BACKGROUND: Zegar was born to a Jewish family of modest means in New York. His mother was a musical comedy performer and opera singer, his father a subway conductor. He attended Long Island University and then NYU for a masters in computer science. While working at Salomon Brothers, he met Michael Bloomberg, who offered Zegar an ownership stake in the financial data company he was starting. Zegar headed up software development for the company.


EDUCATION: Zegar is on the board of trustees for NYU, where he has donated millions.  Other grantees have included Trevor Day School, Long Island University, Johns Hopkins University,  and Posse Foundation.

SCIENCE AND MEDICINE: Zegar and Merryl have supported Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Columbia University Medical Center. One grant to Columbia supported a Fracture Liaison Support (FLS) Program. The foundation's grantmaking at NYU also includes support of plant genomics research studies.

HUMAN SERVICES & ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY:  The Zegars have supported places like Heroes in Transition with helps veterans; Robin Hood Foundation, and Slow Food USA.

ARTS & CULTURE: Grantees have included Museum of the City of New York, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Little Orchestra Society/Orpheon, Figure Skating in Harlem, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and the National Parks Conservation Association.

NUTRITION & HEALTH: The Zegars have supported places like Wellness in the Schools, which " creates healthier environments for children to learn and grow" and Wholesome Wave, which "empowers under-served consumers to make better food "

OTHER: The foundation's website also lists interests in international causes, justice and human rights, and the environment. Grantees have included The Innocence Project, Nature Conservancy, and the GEANCO Foundation, which "saves and transforms the lives of the poor and vulnerable in Africa." The Zegars have also supported Jewish organizations. 

LOOKING FORWARD: The Zegar Foundation's grantmaking has ramped up in recent years, and has broadened its interest areas. As Giving Pledge signatories, the Zegars should be watched carefully in the coming years.