Here's Three Things to Know About How the Vances Give Out Grants

These days, Lee G. Vance has taken to novel writing, crafting stories like Restitution, a thriller involving a Wall Street hotshot who finds himself a prime murder suspect. Before Vance turned to writing though, the Stanford graduate and Harvard MBA spent two decades working for Goldman Sachs managing derivative trading in foreign exchange, equity, commodity and fixed income markets. He made partner at Goldman and held a 0.65 percent stake in the company prior to the firm's IPO.

In the early 1990s, still in his Goldman days, Vance also set up a family foundation called the Lee and Cynthia Vance Foundation, through which he and his wife, Cynthia, move their charitable contributions. The couple's philanthropy is laser-focused on the New York City area where they live and are rather active in civic life. In a recent fiscal year, the Vance Foundation did around $500,000 in grantmaking. Not an overwhelming sum to be sure, but the Vances spread their money fairly widely on a local level, with quite a few grants not even exceeding $1,000. Unfortunately for grantseekers, the foundation flies under the radar, with no clear avenues for contact. Here's what else you need to know:

1. Civically Active Cynthia Vance Drives Some of The Couple's Philanthropy

Cynthia King Vance has a degree from Princeton and got her MBA from Harvard Business School. After graduating, she worked in finance including at McKinsey. Nowadays, though, she's heavily involved in the education space. She's been a project leader for Newark Public Schools, as well as for the New York City Department of Education. As well, she currently works as an adjunct professor at Hunter College, sits on the board of Classroom Inc, and serves as a member of the leadership council of NewSchools Venture Fund.

Given the strong forces here, it's no surprise that Vance and Cynthia support education through their foundation. The couple has recently funded Classroom Inc., Hunter College Foundation, City Year New York, Cooke Center for Learning and Development, NewSchools Venture Fund, and Students for Education Reform, which "develops college students into grassroots organizers who fight for educational justice in their communities," among others. The couple has also supported Dartmouth College (which received a $100,000 grant in the a recent fiscal year), and Cynthia's alma mater Princeton.

2. The Couple Supports Human Services

The couple has steadily supported SCO Family of Services, which provides "necessary services and unconditional care to more than 55,000 of New York’s most vulnerable people." Cynthia has sat on the board of SCO Family of Services, and Vance is currently on the board. Other human services grantees include City Harvest, Robin Hood Foundation, and Food Bank for NYC. The Vances have also underwritten outfits that work with youth such as Children's Defense Fund and Kids in Crisis, which "provides free, round-the-clock help for Connecticut children, teens, and families of all socio-economic levels dealing with any type of crisis."

3. The Couple Has Other Interests Too

Besides, education and human services, the Vances also support arts and culture. In health, meanwhile, Cynthia's involvement also includes sitting on the board of Montefiore Health System. Past health grantees include Montefiore, as well as American Red Cross, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.  Vance and Cynthia also gave close to $90,000 to WNYC Radio through their foundation in a recent fiscal year. Cynthia has been board chair at WNYC Radio since 2013.

Related: Lee G. Vance