Stephen Schwarzman

NET WORTH: $11.7 billion

SOURCE OF WEALTH: The Blackstone Group

FUNDING AREAS: Entrepreneurship, Education, Anti-Poverty, Arts & Culture

OVERVIEW: Stephen Schwarzman is among the top 200 richest people in the world, earning by some estimates $637 million in 2012 alone. This has left people guessing as to when he'll join the ranks of Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Mark Zuckerberg in signing the Giving Pledge, a commitment by the super wealthy to give the majority of their money to charitable causes.

BACKGROUND: Stephen Schwarzman graduated from Yale and received his MBA from Harvard. Schwarzman rose through the ranks at investment bank Lehman Brothers. In 1985 he cofounded Blackstone Group, and serves as chairman and CEO.

ISSUES:

ENTREPRENEURSHIP: In 2007, the Blackstone Group went public, and Schwarzman came away with $677.2 million in cash and $7.8 billion in shares. Shortly thereafter, the company launched the Blackstone Charitable Foundation with $150 million from the public offering. The Foundation's primary interest is fostering entrepreneurship worldwide. In Schwarzman's own words, they are "looking for innovative projects and catalytic ideas that can contribute to the economic rebuilding of the nation."  In 2010, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation announced its Entrepreneurship Initiative, a "global commitment to advance entrepreneurial thought and activity in the United States and abroad." Through Blackstone LaunchPad, Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network, Blackstone Inclusive Entrepreneurship Challenge, and Blackstone Innovation Grants, the foundation "encourages and empowers the entrepreneurs who create jobs and stimulate economic growth."

COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS: The Blackstone Foundation also gives to community-centric civic and charitable organizations through its Supporting Communities initiative. Grantees include the Robert A. Toigo Foundation, which supports diversity in leadership, inMotion, which gives free legal services to victims of domestic violence, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It's difficult to parse the Foundation's efforts from Schwarzman's own philanthropy. He is not on the board or leadership of the Foundation, but as CEO of Blackstone Group he has laid down the guiding principle of entrepreneurship.

EDUCATION: Schwarzman gave $100 million to the New York Public Library. In 2013, Schwarzman gave $100 million to start a Rhodes Scholar-like program to send predominantly U.S.-based students to study at Tsinghua University in Beijing every year. He's also been a steady supporter of K-12 education and gave $40 million to Archdiocese of New York's Inner-City Scholarship Fund, which he's also funded in the past. He also gave a $150 million gift to Yale to create the Schwarzman Center, a "state-of-the-art campus center 

LOOKING FORWARD: Schwarzman says that “plenty of people” have tried to mold him into a typical billionaire philanthropist. But in a New Yorker interview he shared, “I don’t feel like a wealthy person. Other people think of me as a wealthy person, but I don’t. I feel the same as when I was a fifth-year associate trying to make partner at Lehman Brothers. I haven’t changed.” This sense of scarcity may explain why his giving patterns don't quite match up other multi-billionaires.

CONTACT

  • Amy Stursberg, Executive Director, Blackstone Charitable Foundation CEO, 345 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10154, (202) 583-5000, foundation@blackstone.com

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