Henry and Vanessa Cornell

NET WORTH: Unknown

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Goldman Sachs, Cornell Capital

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

OVERVIEW: Henry Cornell and his wife Vanessa conduct their philanthropy through the Cornell Family Foundation. The couple have largely focused on New York City, with grants made to support youth, education, health, and other causes. The Cornell Family Foundation neither has much of a web presence, nor clear guidelines for grantseekers.

BACKGROUND: Cornell graduated from Grinnell College in 1976 with a B.A. in History and Literature before attending New York Law School. In 1984, he joined Goldman Sachs in the investment banking division and is considered one of the company's most successful investors. Cornell served as vice chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs's merchant banking division before going on to found Cornell Capital.


EDUCATION: The Cornells have recently supported education outfits such as St. Paul’s School, The Episcopal School, St. Bernard’s School, and Harvard College Fund. The couple has also supported scholarships such as DWC Scholarship Student Aid Fund and Damian Maldonado Memorial Foundation. Additionally, Cornell has supported his alma mater Grinnell: last decade, a $1.5 million grant went to the school. 

YOUTH & HEALTH: The Cornells have supported a variety of youth programs. Recent grantees include New Yorkers for Children, whose goal is to "support efforts to improve the well-being of youth in foster care through education, career development, the acquisition of life skills, and strengthening the child welfare system," Girl Scouts of Greater New York, Right to Play (an early childhood program), City Squash, and Graham Windham, "the longest serving non-sectarian child welfare agency in the nation."

Some of the couple's health grantmaking also involves youth. Recent grantees include Mt. Sinai Adolescent Health Center, The Matthew Larson Foundation for Pediatric Brain Tumors, and St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a childhood cancer outfit. The couple has also supported Mount Sinai Women's Health Program, and Columbia University Medical Center, among others.

ARTS & CULTURE: The couple has recently supported Film Society of Lincoln Center, Manhattan Theatre Club, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Asia Society, "a nonprofit organization that focuses on educating the world about Asia," among others. It's worth mentioning that Cornell lived and worked in Asia for more than a decade while at Goldman Sachs.

NYC COMMUNITY:  The couple also funds organizations that support the NYC community, including Citizens Committee of NYC and City Harvest.

LOOKING FORWARD: Cornell's grantmaking has largely focused in on New York City. One thing to keep an eye on is Cornell's attempt to get a winery going in California. Perhaps Cornell's philanthropy will involve the West Coast down the line.


The Cornell Family Foundation does not provide a clear avenue for getting in touch with the couple but below is contact information

The Cornell Family Foundation

P.O. Box 73, Bowling Green Sta.

New York City, NY 10274