NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Weitz Investment Management
FUNDING AREAS: Higher Education, Arts & Culture
OVERVIEW: Wally and Barbara Weitz run the Weitz Family Foundation, which mainly supports organizations operating in Omaha, Nebraska and Carleton College in Minnesota. The foundation accepts applications for funding via its website.
BACKGROUND: A native of Pittsburgh, Wally Weitz graduated from Carleton College in 1970 with an economics degree. After working briefly on Wall Street, he and Barbara moved to Omaha, Nebraska, where he took a position at Chiles, Heider, an investment firm. He founded Weitz Investment Management in 1983, which today manages about $6 billion in assets. Barbara Weitz is also a graduate of Carleton College. She earned an M.P.A. from New York University and an M.S.W. from the University of Nebraska, where she also worked as a professor of social work.
HIGHER EDUCATION: Wally and Barbara Weitz, their three children, and their children's spouses are all graduates of Carleton College in Minnesota. In 2007, the Weitz Family Foundation funded the Weitz Center for Creativity with a $15 million gift. Another gift of $20 million went towards a music performance commons for the center. The family has also provided several millions toward scholarships at the college.
ARTS & CULTURE: The Weitz Family Foundation supports arts and culture in Omaha through its Living Well in Omaha initiative, which accounts for about half of the foundation’s yearly grantmaking. The program aims to support organization and programs that “reach a broad swath” of the Omaha community and that “promote and facilitate conversations and grater understanding of others within our community.” Past grantees include Omaha Girls Rock, the Union for Contemporary Art, Great Plains Louder Than a Bomb, the Joslyn Art Museum and Film Streams.
LOOKING FORWARD: The Weitzes will likely continue to support Carleton College and arts and culture organizations in Omaha. As their children become more active in the foundation, their interests may also come to play a role in the family’s philanthropy.