David and Ruth Gottesman

NET WORTH: $1.75 billion

SOURCE OF WEALTH: First Manhattan

FUNDING AREAS: Jewish Causes (U.S. & Israel), Education, Health, Human Services, Arts & Culture

OVERVIEW: David Gottesman, his wife Ruth and family move their philanthropy through the Gottesman Fund, which was established in 1965. The family are major supporters of Jewish organizations both in the United States and in Israel. Gottesman once chaired the board of Yeshiva University. Other interests include education and human services. The family's charity does not accept unsolicited proposals.

BACKGROUND: David Sanford "Sandy" Gottesman graduated from Trinity College in Connecticut and received his MBA from Harvard. Gottesman met Warren Buffett in 1962 and was an early investor in Berkshire Hathaway. Gottesman founded his own investment firm, First Manhattan Co. in 1964. His son Robert now runs the company.


JEWISH CAUSES: Gottesman and his family are major contributors to Jewish organizations both in the United States and in Israel. Via their family fund, they've given millions to PEF Israel Endowment Funds, an outfit founded in 1922 to enable the direct distribution of funds to selected and approved charitable organizations in Israel. Gottesman couple's daughter Alice has served on the board of JCC for some two decades and currently chairs the board of directors of JCC Manhattan, which has received steady support from the family. Other grantees include Birthright Israel; Ramaz School; Beth Din of America, a "rabbinical court which serves affiliated and unaffiliated Jews"; Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education; Drisha Institute for Jewish Education; Foundation For Jewish Camp; Friends Of The Israel Defense Forces; and UJA-Federation of New York.

EDUCATION: The family has strongly supported Yeshiva University, where Gottesman is a chair emeritus. Last decade, the Gottesmans gave a $25 million gift to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University to establish the Ruth L. and David S. Gottesman Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. Other grantees include Jewish schools like Abraham Joshua Heschel School, SAR Academy in Riverdale, New York, Golda Och Academy and Solomon Schechter School of Westchester. In addition, the couple has supported colleges and universities like Barnard College, Champlain College, and University of Wisconsin. It's worth mentioning that Ruth has a master's degree in developmental education and a Ed.D. in human cognition and learning both from Teachers College. Ruth has funded a scholarship fund at Teachers College and last decade, the couple funded the Gottesman Libraries at the school. 

HEALTH:  Grantees include Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia & Parkinson Foundation, Center For Reproductive Rights, Curing Retinal Blindness Foundation, Hospital for Special Surgery, Mount Sinai Medical Center, and NYU Langone Medical Center. 

HUMAN SERVICES: The Gottesmans via their fund earmark funds for human services. Grantees include City Harvest, Committee On Temporary Shelter, Food Bank For New York City, Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf, and Lund Family Center, which "works to break the cycles of poverty, addiction and abuse by supporting pregnant and parenting teens, young adults, and adoptive families."

ARTS & CULTURE: Grantees include American Museum of Natural History, Bronx Children's Museum, and Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, which has recieved especially large support.

LOOKING FORWARD: Expect the family's robust philanthropy to continue. In a recent tax year, their family fund held over $300 million in assets.


The Gottesman Fund does not provide a clear avenue for getting in touch with the family but below is contact information

The Gottesman Fund
1818 N St. N.W., Ste. 400
Washington, DC 20036
Contact: Diane Bennett Eidman, Secretary