Roger and Susan Hertog

NET WORTH: Unknown

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Cofounding partner of Sanford C. Bernstein & Co (now AllianceBernstein)

FUNDING AREAS: Policy, Education, Jewish Causes, NYC Community

OVERVIEW: Roger Hertog and his wife Susan have been involved in philanthropy for decades. Hertog was previously chairman of New York Historical Society and the Manhattan Institute, each of which has received large support. As well, the couple has given tens of millions to the New York Public Library over the years. The Hertog Foundation has given away around $10 million annually in recent years, mainly toward Jewish causes, conservative policy issues, education (both higher education, and school reform), and arts and culture. The Hertog Foundation also runs educational programs for students in areas such as politics, war, and economics. Hertog is also chair of the Tikvah Fund, which supports Jewish causes.

BACKGROUND: The son of an auto mechanic, Roger Hertog grew up in a Jewish family in the Bronx. Except for his parents and two aunts, Hertog lost his entire family in the Holocaust. Hertog attended City College at night and worked a clerical job in the mailroom of a small firm, which piqued his interest in finance. He worked at Oppenheimer & Co where he met Sanford Charles (“Sandy”) Bernstein. Hertog was was one of the founding partners of Sanford C. Bernstein & Company in 1968 and served as the firm’s president until its combination with Alliance Capital Management in 2000. He remains vice chairman emeritus of AllianceBernstein


POLICY: Hertog is conservative but has said that his conservatism not in political consists of his "dress, respect for the system, respect for his parents, and deep abiding belief in the country." Hertog has served as chairman emeritus of the conservative think tank Manhattan Institute, and served on the board of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). He was also a backer of the right-leaning New York Sun newspaper. Hertog and Susan have also supported outfits like the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the Alexander Hamilton Society, the Brookings Institution, the Hudson Institute, the Claremont Institute, the Washington Institute, and the Institute for the Study of War.

EDUCATION: Hertog and his wife are involved in education philanthropy on several fronts. They are interested in charters, and once commissioned a study of charter schools in New York to see whether there are smarter ways to invest in the charter movement. Grantees have included Success Charter Network, and Families for Excellent Schools in New York. In terms of higher education, the couple has recently supported Brandeis University, Duke, and Johns Hopkins. They have also strongly supported Weill Cornell Medical College, and Hunter College (Susan's alma mater), with more modest sums going to Middlebury College's Adult Language Program, and to CUNY Research Foundation. 

Hertog’s major gifts to colleges and universities have also been in line with the couple's deep interest in policy. There is the Roger Hertog Program on Law and National Security at Columbia University, and the Hertog Global Strategy Initiative, a research program at Columbia University that uses historical analysis to confront problems in world politics. It is worth noting that Susan also has a graduate degree from Columbia. 

Finally, the Hertog Foundation runs several educational programs related to policy, including the Hertog Economic Policy Studies Summer Program, an intensive two-week program offered in conjunction with National Affairs magazine, and the Hertog War Studies Program, which aims to educate advanced undergraduate students about the theory, practice, organization, and control of war and military forces.

JEWISH CAUSES: Hertog lost most of his family in the Holocaust and has said that he was “obsessed as a young kid with trying to understand what happened to this large a family — why did all of those Jews have to die?” When Hertog's longtime business partner and friend Bernstein was diagnosed with lymphoma, Bernstein asked Hertog to become chairman of the Tikvah Fund, which promotes Jewish thought and ideas. In addition to helming Tikvah, Hertog has funded the Anti-Defamation League, American Friends of Shalva, and a host of other outfits, mainly in New York City. As well, in 2005, the couple gave $5 million to Taglit-Birthright Israel.

NYC COMMUNITY: Hertog has a deep passion for history and once chaired the New York Historical Society. He established the Roger Hertog Fellowship in 2013, a two-year residency aimed at furthering the work of an eminent scholar through research. The couple has supported the New York Public Library system, where at least $70 million has gone over the years, including a multi million gift to build the Bronx Library Center. They have also supported the Met, and more modestly the Lincoln Center. While the couple are not major health philanthropists, a lot of their gifts in this area have gone to New York City outfits such as Weill Cornell.

LOOKING AHEAD: According to a Philanthropy Roundtable profile on Hertog, he plans to sunset his philanthropy, giving all his money away. That profile also talks about the impact investing strategy that Hertog has employed throughout his long career in philanthropy.


Hertog Foundation