How Robert Steel And His Family Do Their Philanthropy

Robert K. Steel, 64, has held a variety of prominent positions over the years, including serving as New York City's deputy mayor for economic development under then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and CEO of Wachovia Corporation. Before all that, Steel had a 30-plus-year career at Goldman Sachs, where he made partner and once served as vice chairman. It's unclear how much Steel is worth, but he owned a 0.9 percent stake in Goldman prior to its IPO, one of the largest stakes among the 221 member original partnership class. Steel currently serves as CEO of Perella Weinberg Partners.

Steel is also involved with philanthropy and moves his charitable contributions through the Robert K. Steel Family Foundation. Judging by a recent 990 (this is yet another wall street charitable vehicle that flies well under the radar) Steel's wife Gillian is the only trustee on the books. Both Steel and Gillian are active in civic life. Robert Steel chairs the board of trustees of the Aspen Institute, an international nonprofit, and once chaired the board of his undergraduate alma mater, Duke University. The Durham native and family, through their foundation, gave the school at least $10.53 million between 2003 and 2010 alone.

The Steel family has also funded education outfits such as Teach for America, Chase Collegiate School, the Windward School, Kennedy School of Government, Columbia College in South Carolina, and Harvard University. The family has also supported Riverdale Country School, a New York City-area private school that the couple's daughter Alexandra, a Harvard graduate with a masters in teaching and learning, works with.

The Steels have also funded youth outfits, and have a particular interest in youth sports. Gillian serves as vice chair of the board of directors of CitySquash, is a nonprofit afterschool enrichment program based in the Bronx and Brooklyn. Gillian and her daughter are squash players. The Steels support CitySquash, as well as U.S. Squash, and Squash Haven. They've also funded outfits such as Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich, and Sports Humanitarian Group, which does business as Right To Play, whose mission is to "improve the lives of children in the most disadvantaged areas of the world by using the power of sport and play for development, health and peace."

Unsurprisingly, policy is another interest of the Steels. They've supported Aspen Institute recently, as well as American Enterprise Institute, and the Manhattan Institute, among others. The couple's health philanthropy, meanwhile, concentrates on support for cancer outfits. Recent grantees include Breast Cancer Alliance , Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Hospital for Special Surgery, Lymphoma Research Foundation, Greenwich Hospital, Melanoma Research Foundation, and Duke Cancer Institute.

The Steel family also funds arts and human service outfits. The family's philanthropy has an East Coast focus, and in New York City, the family focuses on local outfits that tap into urban issues such as alternative transportation, civic space, and the environment. For instance, they've supported Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, Central Park Conservancy, and Regional Plan Association, which "improves the New York metropolitan region's economic health, environmental sustainability and quality of life through research," among others.

For a more complete look at this funder's philanthropy read our profile on Robert Steel.

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