NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE OF WEALTH: NWQ Investment Management
FUNDING AREAS: Jewish Causes, Policy, Education & Youth, Los Angeles Community
OVERVIEW: David Polak and his wife Janet conduct their philanthropy through the David and Janet Polak Foundation. The Polaks are major bankrollers of American Technion Society, which supports the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel. Aside from Jewish causes, their other interests include policy, education, and the Los Angeles community.
BACKGROUND: David Polak graduated from MIT, and holds an M.S. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an MBA from UCLA’s Graduate School of Management. He went on to found NWQ Investment Management Company.
JEWISH CAUSES: The Polak family has actively supported Israel for decades. Polak has held several leadership positions for the American Technion Society and established the David and Janet Polak Center for Cancer Research and Vascular Biology at Technion. They have also been strongly involved with Ben Gurion University, the recipient of a $1.5 million gift to underwrite its Cyber Security Malware Analysis Laboratory.
The couple has supported the Jewish Free Loan Association, which established the David and Janet Polak Foundation Emergency Loan Program, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles, Israel Cancer Research Fund, Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, and Jewish Big Brothers and Big Sisters Association of Los Angeles.
EDUCATION & YOUTH: The couple has supported Polak’s alma mater MIT, including its Hillel Birthright Extension program, as well as Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services, University of Southern California, and Young America's Foundation, a conservative youth organization.
LOS ANGELES COMMUNITY: The Los Angeles area, where the couple lives, is an important site of giving. The Polaks gave a seven-figure gift to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to create the David and Janet Polak Foundation Stem Cell Core Laboratory at the Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute, with which the family recently became involved. Other grantees have included Museum Associates, Los Angeles Philharmonic Society, Helping Hand of Los Angeles, and The Maple Counseling Center (TMCC), which “provides low fee counseling to people in Los Angeles on an outpatient basis.”
LOOKING FORWARD: Expect the Polak family’s steady giving to continue, with a particular eye towards Jewish causes. As the Polaks’ son Jeff, president and executive director of their foundation, puts it, “We want to help Israel become more economically independent and secure.”
The David and Janet Polak Foundation does not provide a clear avenue of contact but below is an address:
David and Janet Polak Foundation
501 Silverside Rd., Ste. 123
Wilmington, DE 19809