NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Investor
FUNDING AREAS: Education & Youth, Arts & Culture, Jewish Causes, Policy & Environment, Health & Human Services
OVERVIEW: Michael Sonnenfeldt and his wife Katja Goldman move their philanthropy through the Goldman-Sonnenfeldt Foundation Inc., which gave away around $1.7 million in a recent year. The couple support a rage of causes including education, the arts, Jewish causes, and environmental organizations. New York City is an important region of giving.
BACKGROUND: Michael W. Sonnenfeldt earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from the MIT Sloan School. He founded Emmes & Company, a boutique real estate investment firm that grew to over a billion dollars in assets. He also served as chairman of Carmanah Technologies Corp., a public Canadian solar company. Sonnenfeldt's private investment company MUUS & Company, has holdings in solar and other technologies related to alternative energy infrastructure applications. He is also the founder of TIGER 21, a membership organization for high-net-worth wealth creators.
EDUCATION & YOUTH: Sonnenfeldt supports his alma mater MIT. Some of this work has focused on environmental sustainability and climate change through MIT's Sustainability Initiative. Other grantees have included Fordham University, USC, Harlem Village Academies, Yale University (the couple's daughter Joya graduated from the school), and Ethical Culture Fieldston School (Joya attended).
ARTS & CULTURE: Grantees have included American Museum of Natural History, Brooklyn Arts Museum, Guggenheim Museum, The Met, New York Historical Society, MoMA, and LongHouse Reserve, a 16-acre reserve and sculpture garden on Long Island.
JEWISH CAUSES: Katja is active in Jewish communal life and is known as the unofficial challah teacher of the Upper West Side. She co-authored the Empire Kosher Chicken Cookbook: 225 Easy and Elegant Recipes for Poultry and Great Side Dishes. Sonnenfeldt co-founded the Israel Policy Forum (IPF) in 1993 to support the Middle East peace process and promote Israel's future as a Jewish and democratic state by advancing a diplomatic resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Support has gone to American Friends of Rabin Medical Center, Brandeis University, Congregation Lomedei Torah, Jewish Community Center of Manhattan, Abraham Joshua Heschel School, and American Jewish Committee. The couple jointly gave a unique album of 87 photographs by the early Scottish photographer James Graham to the Israel Museum and the Center for Jewish History in New York.
POLICY & ENVIRONMENT: Sonnenfeldt is a board member of Earthjustice, which the family supports. Joya works for NRDC. Sonnenfeldt has served on the board of Washington Institute for Near East Policy, another grantee. The family has supported Center for New American Security, Connecticut Fund for the Environment, and Policy Resolution Group, which provides "an insider’s view of how to get business done in Washington, offering advocacy, strategic communications and legal representation services to help navigate the complex federal landscape."
HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES: Grantees have included American Alyn Hospital, Goddard Riverside Community Center, New York Presbyterian Fund, Memorial Sloan Kettering Center, and San Francisco General Hospital.
LOOKING FORWARD: Expect the couple's varied philanthropy to continue.
The Goldman-Sonnenfeldt Foundation accepts written applications with details at the address below:
c/o Ganer Ganer 1995 Broadway 16 FL
New York, NY 10023