NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Senior Director at Goldman Sachs
FUNDING AREAS: Education, Health, Arts & Culture, Environment, NYC Community
OVERVIEW: Richard Menschel and his wife Ronay conduct their philanthropy through several outfits. The Charina Foundation gives modestly in the fields of arts and culture, education, health, human services and more, mainly in New York. The Charina Endowment Fund, meanwhile, holds some $316 million in assets and gave away around $14 million recently. The fund works in most of the same grantmaking areas, though grants are much larger and include many more outfits outside of New York City. It is worth mentioning that Menschel's brother, Robert, has a similar grantmaking operation.
BACKGROUND: Richard L. Menschel was raised in Manhattan and graduated from Syracuse University and Harvard Business School. He served as an officer in the Air Force. His career at Goldman Sachs began in 1959. Menschel was a partner, management committee member, and senior director by the time he retired.
EDUCATION: Menschel has given a lot of money to Harvard, where he attended business school. Interestingly enough, though, it is the Harvard School of Public Health that has received major sums of late. A recent $12.5 million gift from Menschel and his wife Ronay established the Transforming Public Health Education Initiative, whose aim is to develop "innovative teaching methods, train faculty, harness new educational technologies, and highlight fieldwork and experience-based learning." The couple also established the Richard L. and Ronay A. Menschel Senior Leadership Fellows Program, launched in 2012, which "brings high-level leaders in government, nonprofits, and journalism to HSPH for three months to share their expertise." The Horace W. Goldsmith Fellowships, meanwhile, were established with support from the Menschels in 2007.
Apart from Harvard, sums coming out of the Charina Foundation have recently supported Bard College, Syracuse University and Rockefeller University, among others. The Charina Endowment Fund, meanwhile, has recently given to Cornell, with a multimillion-dollar commitment over several years. Ronay is a graduate of Cornell. On the K-12 front, the foundation and fund have supported outfits such as Citizen Schools, KIPP NYC, and the After-School Corporation.
HEALTH: Menschel is a chairman emeritus at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. Millions have streamed to that outfit from the Charina Endowment Fund. Another recipient of millions through the fund has been Nantucket Cottage Hospital. Recent money out of the Charina Foundation, meanwhile, has supported the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, New York Presbyterian Fund, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, among others.
ARTS AND CULTURE: Menschel has supported outfits such as Museum of Modern Art, Jewish Museum, Neue Galerie New York, Art Institute of Chicago, Manhattan Theatre Club, and a number of other arts and culture outfits in New York City and beyond. Menschel is also interested in historic preservation, with recent money going to the Nantucket Historical Association, and Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.
ENVIRONMENT: Through both the Charina Endowment Fund and Charina Foundation, Menschel has supported environmental outfits, mainly in New York City and Massachusetts. Recent money has gone to Central Park Conservancy, Scenic Hudson, Nantucket Land Council, and Madison Square Park Conservancy, among others.
OTHER: A component of Menschel's philanthropy, like that of his brother Robert, involves human rights and criminal justice issues. Recent money has gone to International Rescue Committee, American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, and Brennan Center for Justice, a public policy and law institute at NYU that "focuses on the fundamental issues of democracy and justice." The couple also supports human services outfits such as Citymeals-on-Wheels, Harlem Children's Zone, and Phipps Houses, "a not-for-profit developer, owner, and manager of affordable housing in New York City." Menschel's wife Ronay serves as chair of the board of trustees of Phipps Houses.
LOOKING FORWARD: The Menschels are running an extensive philanthropic operation, and much of this is flying under the radar, in part because these their organizations do not have websites.
The Menschels' charitable vehicles do not have much of a web presence, or offer a clear way to get in touch with the couple, but listed below are addresses
Charina Foundation, Inc.
77 Water St., 9th Fl.
New York, NY 10005
The Charina Endowment Fund
375 Park Ave., Ste. 1602
New York, NY 10152