NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Goldman Sachs
FUNDING AREAS: Education
OVERVIEW: Leslie Sillcox and her husband Mark move their charitable contributions through the Tortora Sillcox Family Foundation. The mission of the foundation is to "contribute to the steadily growing number of young people in New York City who overcome socioeconomic barriers to graduate from public high school - and then from college - prepared for meaningful employment and robust civic participation."
BACKGROUND: Leslie Sillcox graduated from Trinity College in 1978 with a degree in history. In 1984, she joined Goldman Sachs, making partner in 1992. Sillcox was responsible for Goldman's technology efforts; she was named a managing director in 1996, and joined Goldman Sachs' management committee in 1999. She retired in 2001 as Chief Information Officer.
EDUCATION: Sillcox and her husband Mark have been laser-focused on education with their philanthropy. The motivations here have a personal element: Sillcox worked in inner-city schools while still an undergraduate. From 2004 to 2013, she served as chair and board member of Computers for Youth, a nonprofit that "helps low-income children do better in school by improving their home environment."
Though the Tortora Sillcox Foundation flies well under the radar, with a minimal web presence, its 990 forms describe the aims of the foundation, stating, "education is one of the best tools to address economic inequality. While it has received a great deal of attention and funds at the national, state and city level, there is an important role that private foundations play in supporting programs that demonstrate innovation and excellence. New York City in particular has a base of quality intermediaries that work in the public education space to improve outcomes for the City's students."
The couple was inspired in particular by the Bloomberg and Klein administrations' commitment to "bring fundamental structural change to the New York City public school system." The foundation donates $2.5 million to $3.5 million annually, primarily in the field of NYC public education, with individual grants typically on the order of few hundred thousand annually. The foundation does give out quite a few multiyear grants. In a recent fiscal year, interest focused on public high schools, the CUNY and SUNY system, school support and management organizations, nonprofit college access and persistence organizations, and policy makers.
A recent sampling of grantees includes a five-year $1 million commitment to Bottom Line, a "community based nonprofit dedicated to helping low-income students get into college, graduate from college, and go far in life," Center for Economic Opportunity, which "gives people with a recent criminal history the preparation and support they need to find a job and stay connected to the labor force,"CUNY at Home in College, a "transition program that works with students from NYC public high schools to graduate but who have not met tradition benchmarks of college readiness," LaGuardia Community College, Nassau Community College, Uncommon Schools, and New Visions for Public Schools.
The couple also has an interest STEM education. They've funded Posse STEM, City Polytechnic High School of Engineering, and 100Kin10, recently pledging $1 million to fund initiatives that increase the number of low-income New York City public school students engaged in rigorous STEM courses through the recruitment and support of effective STEM teachers.
Sillcox and Mark have also supported Trinity College, and in 2006 established the Tortora Sillcox Family Scholarship. Sillcox was once a trustee at her alma mater.
LOOKING FORWARD: Expect this couple to stay laser-focused on education, particularly at the city level in New York.
The Tortora Sillcox Family Foundation does not provide a clear avenue of contact, but below is an address: