Henry and Marie-Josee Kravis

NET WORTH: $5 billion

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Kohlberg Kravis Roberts

FUNDING AREAS: Health, Education, Arts & Culture, NYC Community

OVERVIEW: Henry Kravis and his wife Marie-Josee are very active philanthropists. They each sit on numerous boards, and have a broad range of interests. Their giving includes major gifts that can reach upwards of $100 million, and scores of smaller donations, typically in the $10-100,000 range, the largest number of which go to cultural organizations, predominantly in the NYC area.

BACKGROUND: The son of a Jewish oil engineer from Oklahoma, Henry Kravis graduated from Claremont McKenna College and Columbia Business School before going to work at Bear Stearns, where he worked for roughly 7 years before leaving to form his own firm. He and his wife Marie-Josee Kravis, a prominent Canadian economist, are both active board members for a number of health, educational, and cultural institutions. 

ISSUES:

HEALTH: Kravis is a trustee of Mount Sinai Medical Center, where he donated $10 million in 1988 to create a women and children’s center. More recently, he and his wife donated $15 million to establish the Center for Cardiovascular Health and endow a professorship. He and his wife also donated $100 million to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in 2014. His wife sits on the board of Memorial Sloan Kettering, where the two endowed the chair in Human Oncology. They have also been known to support research foundations for a variety of diseases, such as the Lung Cancer Research Foundation, and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. 

EDUCATION: Kravis has been a regular donor to each of the schools he attended, often contributing $1-2 million on an annual basis, as well as several other schools, including Rockefeller College where he is vice-chairman, Middlesex School, and Deerfield Academy. He is a trustee at Claremont McKenna College, where more than $85 million in donations have seen several buildings and programs named after him, including the Kravis Leadership Institute, the Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership, and the Henry Kravis Internships for Teachers of Color. 

Kravis is also a vice chair of Rockefeller University, where he has donated more than $10 million, and co-chair of the Columbia Business School Board of Overseers, where he recently pledged $100 million to help build a new lab building in Manhattan. Even when it comes to smaller donations, Kravis still puts up significant sums, for example the more than $150,000 he has donated to the Laura Bush Foundation for American Libraries.

LEADERSHIP: A big chunk of that more than $85 million Kravis gave to Claremont McKenna has been to develop leadership programs. The Kravis Prize in Leadership is not at all insubstantial either- $250,000 to the winners’ organization, which has supported educational programs impacting more than 500 million people in 60 different countries. The Prize purports to recognize leadership among non-profits, which could really support any sort of non-profit work, but since its founding in 2006, seems to be biased toward supporting educational organizations in developing countries.

ARTS & CULTURE: Kravis made a major donation to the New York Philharmonic in 2009 in honor of his wife, endowing the Composer-in-Residence position, and creating a prize for new music. Marie-Josee Kravis is also the president of New York’s Museum of Modern Art Board of Trustees. They’ve given smaller donations to museums such as the Met, the Churchill Museum, the Whitney, and the Smithsonian, and other cultural organizations such as the National Actors Theatre, the Lincoln Center Theatre, Carnegie Hall, the NY Public Library, NY public TV, Playwrights Horizons, and several Jewish cultural organizations. These donations are generally centered in New York, though a number have been to organizations based in DC or other areas. If you’re looking for a donation for an organization outside New York though, chances are you need to have a personal connection, or some major name recognition.

NYC COMMUNITY: Kravis has been a major donor to the Robin Hood Foundation, where Marie-Josee sits on the board. Kravis himself is a board member and former co-chair of the Partnership for New York City, and is the creator of the New York City Investment Fund, a non-profit organization to create jobs and new business in the city. He also funds inner-city scholarship programs and other youth development services in New York, particularly those that focus on education, and support a number of historic preservation societies as well.

GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT: This may be the least developed area of Kravis’ philanthropy, but his Kravis Prize has started to change that, as have gifts such as the $250,000 donation he made to Creating Hope International in 2009, or the small gift he made to Women for Women International.

LOOKING FORWARD: Kravis already has a broadly ranging portfolio of philanthropy, so it is likely that his giving trends will continue in much the same pattern. There are certainly opportunities for him to expand, particularly in other communities where he spends time or has personal connections, such as Palm Beach, Florida, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Vail, Colorado. It’s also possible that the Kravis Leadership Prize could be replicated at Columbia or Rockefeller College, or expand beyond just education, creating an opportunity for Kravis to do more in areas like global health and development. 

CONTACT:

Marie Josee and Henry R. Kravis Foundation
c/o KKR Financial Services Foundation
730 5th Avenue 8th Floor
New York, NY 10019
(212) 271-9933