David and Ruth Gottesman

NET WORTH: $2.4 billion

SOURCE OF WEALTH: First Manhattan Co.

FUNDING AREAS: Jewish Causes, Education, Health, Human Services, Arts & Culture

OVERVIEW: David Gottesman and his wife, Ruth, established the Gottesman Fund in 1965. The Gottesmans are supporters of Jewish organizations in the United States and Israel. Other philanthropic interests include education, health, human services and arts and culture. The Gottesman Fund does not accept unsolicited proposals.

BACKGROUND: David Sanford "Sandy" Gottesman graduated from Trinity College in Connecticut and received an MBA from Harvard. He met Warren Buffett in 1962 and was an early investor in Berkshire Hathaway. Gottesman founded his own investment firm, First Manhattan Co., in 1964. Ruth Levy Gottesman is a graduate of Barndard College and holds an Ed.D. degree in educational psychology from Columbia University’s Teachers College.


JEWISH CAUSES: The Gottesmans are major contributors to Jewish organizations in the United States and in Israel. They have supported PEF Israel, an endowment fund that collects and distributes funding to charitable Israeli organizations. They have also made donations to over 250 Israeli school libraries and the Jerusalem Zoo, which used the funding to establish the Gottesman Family Israel Aquarium. The Gottesmans’ daughter, Alice, is a longtime board member of the Jewish Community Center of Manhattan, and the family has steadily supported this and other JCC chapters in the U.S. Other past grantees include Birthright Israel, the Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education, the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces and the UJA-Federation of New York.

EDUCATION: The family has strongly supported Yeshiva University, where Gottesman is a chair emeritus. In 2008, Gottesmans gave a $25 million gift to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University to establish the Ruth L. and David S. Gottesman Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. Other higher education grantees include Barnard College, Champlain College, the University of Wisconsin, and Teachers College at Columbia University, which established the Gottesman Libraries in their name. The Gottesmans have supported many Jewish K-12 schools in the New York area including the Abraham Joshua Heschel School; SAR Academy in Riverdale, New York; the Golda Och Academy and the Solomon Schechter School of Westchester County, New York.

HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES: The Gottesmans’ health funding has prioritized organizations in operating in New York City. Past grantees include the Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia & Parkinson Foundation, the Center For Reproductive Rights, the Hospital for Special Surgery and New York University’s Langone Medical Center. The Gottesmans also fund organizations that address hunger, homelessness and at-risk youth. In the past, they have supported New York’s City Harvest and, in Vermont, the Committee On Temporary Shelter and the Lund Family Center, which offers services and support to individuals and families living in poverty or suffering from addictive disorders.

ARTS & CULTURE: The Gottesman’s philanthropy in the area of arts and culture has been directed mainly toward organizations operating in New York City. Past grantees include American Museum of Natural History, Bronx Children's Museum, and the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.

LOOKING FORWARD: Expect the family's robust philanthropy to continue in their established interest areas. Jewish causes will remain prominent in their philanthropy, as will organizations and schools operating in the New York City area.


The Gottesman Fund does not provide a clear avenue for getting in touch with the family but below is contact information.

The Gottesman Fund
1818 N St. N.W., Ste. 400
Washington, DC 20036

Contact: Diane Bennett Eidman, Secretary