NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Leucadia National Corporation
FUNDING AREAS: Education & Youth, Jewish Causes, Arts & Culture, Environment, Human Services
OVERVIEW: Joseph Steinberg and his wife Diane conduct their philanthropy through the Joseph S. & Diane H. Steinberg Charitable Trust, which gave away around $2.9 million in a recent year. The family is interested in their local Brooklyn community, helping poor people move up the economic ladder, children, documentary films, Israel, Jewish history, culture and archival activities, medical research, as well as other endeavors.
BACKGROUND: Joseph S. Steinberg graduated from NYU and received his MBA from Harvard Business School. He met his business partner Ian Cumming at Harvard Business School and in the early 1970s they bought a stake in a bankrupt holding company, which they renamed Leucadia National Corporation (now Jefferies Financial Group). Steinberg was once on the Forbes billionaire list.
EDUCATION & YOUTH: Steinberg steadily supports his alma mater NYU, including the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life. Other grantees have included Brooklyn Academy of Music, Poly Prep Country Day School, University of Colorado, Pratt Institute, St. Joseph High School, and UC Davis Foundation.
JEWISH CAUSES: Joseph Steinberg was one of the founders of the Center for Jewish History in New York City and has been a longtime supporter of YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. Steinberg gave the institute a $300,000 grant to create an online edition of The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe. Other grantees have included Yiddish Radio Project, Congregation Mt Sinai, UJA Federation, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and Hebrew Charter School. The Steinbergs are also interested in documentary film and helped bankroll The Story of the Jews with Simon Schama for PBS.
ARTS & CULTURE: Diane was recently elected chair of the board of Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which the couple steadily support. Other grantees have included New York City Center (Steinberg is on the board), South Fork Natural History Museum, Brooklyn Museum of Art, and Prospect Park Alliance.
OTHER: The couple have given strong support to Conservation International, lately. They have also supported human services organizations like New York City Relief and 500 Men Making a Difference, whose mission is to “improve the level of civic engagement in our community and empower the men of Brooklyn to build on a legacy of political and social advancement in minority communities.”
LOOKING FORWARD: Expect the couple to stick with their select interest areas for now. Down the line, the couple’s three children should be watched for the next generation of Steinberg philanthropy.
The Joseph S. & Diane H. Steinberg Charitable Trust does not provide a clear avenue of contact but below is an address:
Joseph S. & Diane H. Steinberg Charitable Trust
520 Madison Avenue, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10022