NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Founder & Chairman of Chazen Capital Partners; Chairman Emeritus & Cofounder of Liz Claiborne
FUNDING AREAS: Education, Arts & Culture
OVERVIEW: Jerome Chazen and his wife Simona are major backers of their alma mater, University of Wisconsin, which has received tens of millions over the years, including $20 million to create the University of Wisconsin’s Chazen Museum of Art. The Chazens are also major art collectors, and have given millions to the Museum of Arts and Design, where Chazen serves as chairman emeritus. Assorted sums have gone to health, and Jewish causes, as well as to various outfits in Rockland County, a suburb of the New York City metro area, where the couple lives.
BACKGROUND: Jerome Chazen received an economics degree from the University of Wisconsin and an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School. Chazen worked as an analyst on Wall Street before joining the venture that would become Liz Claiborne in 1976. Chazen was initially in charge of direct marketing operations. When Liz Claiborne retired, Chazen was named chair. In 1997, Chazen established Chazen Capital Partners, a private investment firm. His current net worth is unknown.
EDUCATION: Chazen and his wife Simona are University of Wisconsin graduates, and have given the school millions over the years. A $20 million gift last decade created the University of Wisconsin’s Chazen Museum of Art, which the couple has supported heavily since. In 2009, another $25 million went to the University of Wisconsin, in 2010, $5 million, and in 2015, $25 million with an additional $5 million for the Chazen Museum of Art building, and $3 million for the Chazen Family Distinguished Chair in Art and the Simona and Jerome Chazen Distinguished Chair in Art Education.
Chazen's graduate school alma mater, Columbia Business School, has also been the site of major philanthropy. A $10 million gift in the 1990s established the Jerome A. Chazen Institute of International Business. A steady stream of money has flowed to Columbia Business School, where Chazen sits on the board of overseers. Finally, at least $1 million has gone to the Educational Foundation for the Fashion Industries, and Chazen has bankrolled a scholarship program which supports promising Rockland County students.
ARTS & CULTURE: The Chazens are major art collectors with more than 500 pieces by 200 modern and contemporary artists, as of last decade. Chazen is also chairman emeritus of the board of the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, which the couple helps fund. Last decade, at least $17.5 million went to the museum. Support has also gone to the Lincoln Center of Performing Arts, MoMA, Roundabout Theatre Company, Rockland Conservatory of Music, Louis Armstrong House Museum, and Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.
OTHER: Chazen is a steady supporter of SLE Lupus Foundation, but health is not a major interest of this funder. Various Jewish outfits such as the Jewish Federation of Rockland County have received support. The couple is also interested in human services work in Rockland County.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Chazen Foundation has been around since the 1980s, and these days, a similar list of grantees dominates annually, with the couple's alma maters, and museums winning out. The foundation’s largest gifts happened in prior decades.
The Chazen Foundation does not provide a clear avenue for approaching the couple for support, but contact information is below:
The Chazen Foundation
150 E. 58th St., 27th Fl.
New York, NY 10155