Suzanne Nora Johnson and David Johnson

NET WORTH: Unknown


FUNDING AREAS: Public Policy & Women's Equity, Arts & Culture, Education & Youth, Health, Human Services

OVERVIEW: Suzanne Nora Johnson and her husband David Johnson conduct their philanthropy through the Suzanne M. Nora Johnson and David G. Johnson Foundation, which gave away a little over $1 million recently. The couple hold a number of board memberships. In the field of public policy, one of their interest areas, Johnson serves as a vice chair of the board of trustees of the Brookings Institution, a think tank based in Washington, D.C. The Johnsons are also interested in women's equity, arts and culture, education, youth, and more. Much of the couple's grantmaking involves Los Angeles and the east coast.

BACKGROUND: Born in 1957 in Chicago to middle class parents, Suzanne Nora Johnson attended University of Southern California and received a J.D. from Harvard Law School. She worked at the firm Simpson Thacher and Bartlett, and then as a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals before joining Goldman Sachs. Johnson spent more than two decades at Goldman, making partner in 1992, and later serving as vice chairman. Johnson has been on Forbes' 100 Most Powerful Women list.


PUBLIC POLICY & WOMEN'S EQUITY: Johnson and her husband David, through their Suzanne M. Nora Johnson and David G. Johnson Foundation, have steadily supported public policy outfits. Johnson serves as a vice chair of the board of trustees of the Brookings Institution, and David is the former chair of Public Counsel Law Center, the "nation’s largest public interest pro bono law firm." He founded the outfit's Impact Litigation Project, which "addresses economic justice through large-scale litigation."

Recent grantees in this area include Pacific Council on International Policy, which is "committed to building the vast potential of the West Coast for impact on global issues, discourse, and policy," Council on Foreign Relations, ACLU of Southern California, and Washington Center for Equitable Growth. The couple has given particularly large grants to Brookings Institution, recently supporting its Global Leadership Council, Latin American Initiative, and Hamilton Project, which offers a "strategic vision and produces innovative policy proposals on how to create a growing economy that benefits more Americans." 

A component of this philanthropy also involves women's equity. Recent grantees include Legal Momentum, which "leads action for the legal rights of women," The Global Fund for Women, The Committee of 200 Foundation, whose aim is to "foster, celebrate and advance women's leadership in business," and Women's World Banking

ARTS & CULTURE: The couple also supports arts and culture, which is no surprise given David's career in media. David is also chair emeritus of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). The couple's foundation has supported Museum of Modern Art, Sundance Institute, MOCA, Americans for the Arts, Creative Capital, Carnegie Institution for Science, The Jewish Museum, and Pentacle/Danceworks, among others. They have also bankrolled film and televious projects, including a documentary called Rolling, which aired on THIRTEEN.

EDUCATION & YOUTH: Recent grantees include Boston College, Catholic Education Foundation, University of Southern California, Center for Early Education, Mayfield Senior School in Pasadena, California, Harvard Law School, St Joseph's School, Columbia University, Yale School of Drama, Harvard Law School (the couple's mutual alma mater), Children Uniting Nations, Dream Foundation, and Children Now, where David sits on the board. David is a Yale graduate and sits on the advisory board of the Yale School of Drama.

HEALTH: Recent grantmaking out of the Suzanne M. Nora Johnson and David G. Johnson Foundation includes American Red Cross, The National MS Society, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Nora Institute for Surgical Patient Safety, and RAND Health. The Johnsons are not just interested in supporting health causes, but also health policy. RAND Health, for instance, is a major research division of the RAND Corporation, a policy outfit. Note that Johnson's board memberships include Pfizer.

HUMAN SERVICES: The couple has recently supported L.A. Family Housing, Project Angel Food, and St. Joseph Center in Venice, California, whose mission is to "provide working poor families, as well as homeless men, women, and children of all ages with the inner resources and tools to become productive, stable and self-supporting members of the community," among other outfits.

OTHER: The couple has also recently funded Echoing Green and religious outfits, including University Synagogue.

LOOKING FORWARD: The couple's philanthropy has risen since Johnson retired from Goldman Sachs. It is unclear how much they are currently worth but their record of civic engagement make them people to watch closely for greater giving down the line.


The Suzanne M. Nora Johnson and David G. Johnson Foundation does not provide a clear avenue of contact, but an address is provided below:

Suzanne M. Nora Johnson and David G. Johnson Foundation

Bowling Green Sta., P.O. Box 73

New York City, NY 10274