David and Beth Shaw

NET WORTH: $5.4 billion


FUNDING AREAS: Health, Education & Science Research, Human Services, Arts & Culture, Jewish Causes

OVERVIEW: David Shaw and his wife Beth move philanthropy through the Shaw Family Endowment Fund, which gave away around $9.4 million in a recent tax year. Interests include education and arts and culture. The couple's giving appears to be ramping up. 

BACKGROUND: Like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, David Elliot Shaw has performed a wildly successful alchemical fusion of technological prowess and big business. A former computer science professor, Shaw founded the D.E. Shaw Group in New York, a hedge fund company that was among the first to deploy advanced investment technologies; its portfolio value in 2012 was over $42 billion. Unlike Gates and Jobs, however, Shaw has redirected the lion share of his attention back toward research, and is now Chief Scientist at D.E. Shaw Research, a computational biochemistry laboratory.


EDUCATION & SCIENCE RESEARCH: Shaw has sat on the board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which the couple has supported. The couple also steadily support Harvard, Yale, MIT, Columbia University, Princeton and Horace Mann School, among others.  Some of this giving supports science research. A recent grant to Harvard, for instance, supported the Institute for Applied Computational Science. The Georgia Tech Foundation, meanwhile, received a gift toward the College of Computing dean's fund.  The couple has supported National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering as well. 

HEALTH: Shaw and Beth have made sizeable contributions over the years to the Prostate Cancer Fund, in honor of Kobliner’s father, who was diagnosed with the disease. Other grantees have included Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, New York Presbyterian Fund, and St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center.

HUMAN SERVICES: Grantees have included Innovations for Poverty Action, and United in Harmony, whose mission is to "provide impoverished children with hope and opportunities." 

ARTS AND CULTURE: The couple supports arts organizations, often in the New York City metro area. Grantees have included Symphony Space, Young People's Chorus of NYC.

OTHER: Shaw and Beth, via their foundation, have also supported environmental and Jewish outfits. Grantees have included National Park Foundation, Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, and Manhattan Jewish Experience Synagogue. 

LOOKING FORWARD: For the time being, unless you are a research scientist applying for funds through the AAAS or seeking a position in Shaw’s lab, it seems unlikely that you will gain Shaw's attention. On the other hand, small organizations devoted to promoting math and technology programs for exceptional students may stand a better chance.


The Shaw Family Endowment Fund
120 W. 45th Street, 39th Floor
New York, NY 10036