Now in his early 80s, Donald B. Marron began his career at the New York Trust Company and is currently the chairman of Lightyear Capital, a private equity firm he founded in the early 2000s. Marron was once on the Forbes billionaire list, though it's unclear how much he's currently worth. Marron is engaged in philanthropy and moves his charitable contributions through the Donald B. Marron Charitable Trust, which doesn't have much of a web presence, or a clear way to get in touch. In a recent tax year, the trust held around $20 million in assets and gave away about $8.3 million.
Marron made big waves a few years ago when he made a large $40 million gift to New York University to launch the Marron Institute on Cities and the Urban Environment, a new hub for research on cities and the urban environment. Marron is a lifelong New York resident and a product of New York City public schools. He also attended City University of New York. Other recent education philanthropy by Marron through his trust has involved outfits such as Abyssinian Development Corporation, which works in educational programming, human services and community development in Harlem; Barnard College, which received $350,000 in the 2014 fiscal year; Bronx High School of Science Alumni Association; Dwight School Foundation; University of Michigan; Harvard, where he's funded a graduate scholarship in his name; and Georgetown University, which received $750,000 in the 2013 fiscal year.
Marron also has a strong interest in arts and culture philanthropy, which is driven, at least in part, by his wife Catherine, whose own charitable vehicle also flies under the radar. Catherine once served as chairman of the New York Public Library, and is currently on the board of trustees. She is also chair of Friends of the High Line, and is passionate about green spaces. Between 2004 and 2010, at least $9.35 million went to New York Public Library. Friends of the High Line, meanwhile, has received at least least $3.2 million in the two most recent years for which tax records are available. Recent grants have gone to outfits such as Carnegie Hall, the Met, Metropolitan Opera, Municipal Art Society of New York, Neue Galerie New York, and New York Philharmonic. Marron has also been heavily involved with Modern Museum of Art, and currently serves as president emeritus.
Grantmaking has also involved health and human services outfits, such as Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (which received more than $1 million in the 2014 fiscal year), Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Coalition for Homeless, and Phoenix House, a nonprofit drug and alcohol rehabilitation organization. A component of Marron's philanthropy involves international and policy issues. Recent grantmaking includes outfits such as Council on Foreign Relations, and Center for Strategic and International Studies.
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