NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Goldman Sachs, Satter Investment Management
FUNDING AREAS: Education & Youth, Human Rights & Democracy, Arts & Culture, Health & Human Services, Environment & Species
OVERVIEW: Muneer Satter and his wife Kristen Hertel conduct their philanthropy through the Chicago-based Satter Foundation, which aims “to create real and sustainable change in the lives of people and in the environment we all share.” Since its inception in 1997, the foundation has awarded over $45 million in grants. Satter and Hertel’s alma maters and the greater Chicago area are priorities of this foundation.
BACKGROUND: Born in Texas, Muneer Satter received a B.A. from Northwestern University and J.D. and MBA degrees from Harvard. Satter joined Goldman Sachs in 1988 and moved to London in 1992 to launch the firm’s European merchant banking division. Satter returned to New York in 1997 to head the firm’s mezzanine fund, which eventually became the largest fund of its kind. Satter retired from Goldman Sachs in 2012 and started his own firm, Satter Investment Management, which specializes in healthcare companies. Muneer’s wife, Kristen Hertel, is also a graduate of Northwestern University.
EDUCATION & YOUTH: Satter and Hertel’s K-12 education funding has prioritized charter schools in the Chicago area and organizations that support underserved children and youth. They have supported New Schools for Chicago, which opens and supports charter and district-run schools. Additional past grantees include Junior Achievement, the Chicago-based Noble Network of Charter Schools, Room to Read, and the Ounce of Prevention Fund.
The couple’s higher education funding has prioritized their alma maters—Northwestern and Harvard. In 2015 they donated $10.5 million to Northwestern, most of which went toward a scholarship program at the Feinberg School of Medicine. At Harvard, the couple has supported the the law and business schools.
HUMAN RIGHTS & DEMOCRACY: The Satter Foundation’s giving in the areas of human rights and democracy reflect Muneer Satter’s roots: his father was an immigrant from India and his mother was a civil rights activist. The couple’s top concerns in this funding area are human rights, disaster relief and economic opportunity. One past grantee, Samasource, “connects low-income people in Kenya, Uganda, India and Haiti to internet-based work to help them move out of poverty.” Other past grantees include Human Rights Watch and AmeriCares.
ARTS & CULTURE: Satter and Hertel’s giving in the area of arts and culture prioritizes the Chicago area. Past grantees include the Chicago Botanical Garden, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Zoological Society, the Joffrey Ballet, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES: Much of the couple’s health and human services grantmaking has also been directed toward Chicago-based organizations. Grantees have included Lurie Children’s Hospital, the Northwestern Medicine Health System, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Outside of Chicago, the couple have supported the Friedman Brain Institute, the Mayo Clinic the United Way and the Robin Hood Foundation.
ENVIRONMENT & ANIMALS: The Satter Foundation supports environmental causes broadly. Priorities have included land and resource conservation, as well as support for endangered wildlife. One grantee, the Wildlife Conservation Society, used funding to support its India Tiger Program, which aims to “enable tigers and people to live harmoniously in India.” Another grantee, the Trust for Public Land, created the 606, a trail system for biking, running and walking that connects four Chicago neighborhoods.
LOOKING FORWARD: Through their foundation, Satter and Hertel will likely continue to support their targeted initiatives, prioritizing organizations operating in the Chicago area.