Veteran Banker, Veteran Philanthropist: A Profile of Henry Arnhold

Born in Dresden in 1921, Henry H. Arnhold comes from the Dresden banking family of Arnhold. The family's bank fell victim to "Aryanization" and when World War II broke out, Arnhold fled to Sweden and Cuba before reaching American soil in 1942. Arnhold studied at UCLA, had a stint in the U.S. Army, and joined his family's investment bank Arnhold & S. Bleichroeder, where he served as chairman starting in 1960.

Arnhold, who's in his ninties now, has been engaged in philanthropy for years and established the Arnhold Foundation in 1988. The foundation held some $353 million in assets and gave away around $15 million in a recent year. Arnhold's philanthropy covers several different interest areas and is highlighted by his support of arts and culture. Arnhold is yet another Wall Streeter who collects art and he owns more than 500 pieces of 18th-century porcelain made in Meissen, a town in eastern Germany close to Dresden. Some of these pieces have been put on display at the Frick Collection in New York.

Unfortunately for grantseekers, the Arnhold Foundation doesn't have much of a web presence, or a clear way to get in touch. Apart from Arnhold, who serves as president, his son John is listed as a secretary and treasurer of the foundation. Here are few other must knows:

1. Arts & Culture Has Been a Big Winner

Past money has gone to Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Opera, International Center of Photography, Jazz at Lincoln Center (which received $1.3 million in a recent year), New Amsterdam Singers, Opera America, Public Theater, Riverside Symphony, Film Society of Lincoln Center, Guggenheim Museum, Jazz at Lincoln Center (which received $1.3 million), Lincoln Center for the Arts (which received $143,000), Manhattan Theater Club, Manhattan Youth Ballet, Metropolitan Opera, Museum of Modern Art, and more.

A particularly long stream of dance grantees have received funds from Arnhold including American Dance Festival, Ballet Theatre Foundation, Paul Taylor Dance Foundation, Sacred Dance Guild, Dancewave, Dances by Isadora, and Ballet Hispanico, which received around $1.1 million in a recent fiscal year and close to $1.4 million the previous year. It's worth mentioning that John's wife, Jody, is a dance educator and arts advocate who serves as honorary chair of Ballet Hispanico. In a recent year, a large $120,000 grant also went to New York City Center, which is home to many distinguished companies, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

2. Support Has Also Gone Towards Education

Past grants have gone to outfits such as Bank Street College of Education, Columbia Business School, Vassar College, Hunter College Foundation (which received $275,000 grant), Icahn School of Medicine, New School (which received $900,000), and UC Santa Barbara Foundation (which received $506,000). Arnhold's son, John, received his B.A. from UCSB and has supported his school with Jody. Arnhold has also funded K-12 education outfits such as Prep for Prep and Fund for Public Schools.

3. Large Sums Have Gone to Select Environmental Outfits

Arnhold serves as an emeritus director of Conservation International, which received more than $5 million in a recent year, and more than $6.2 million the previous year. Funds have also gone to ASPCA, Bridgewater Land Trust, Central Park Conservancy, Fresh Air Fund, and Roxbury Land Trust.

4. Arnhold Is Also Interested in International Issues

Given Arnhold's background, it's no surprise that a component of his philanthropy considers international issues. Past grantees include American Friends of the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba, Carnegie Endowment of International Peace, World Policy Institute, Council on Foreign Relations, and Global Citizen Year, which received $250,000. Global Citizen Year describes itself as a "nonprofit social enterprise on a mission to make it normal to choose a bridge year; an experience after high school." Support has also gone to International House in Morningside Heights, a "private, nonprofit residence and program center for graduate students, scholars engaging in research, trainees and interns."

5. Assorted Sums Have Gone Elsewhere

In health, funds have gone to American Cancer Society, Mount Sinai Hospital Center, Planned Parenthood, National Institute of Reproductive Health, and Western Connecticut Health Network, which received $500,000. New Milford Hospital in Connecticut is home to the Arnhold Emergency Department and the Arnhold family has strong ties to this region.

Local New York City community outfits such as Citymeals-on-Wheels, 92nd Street Y, and Broadway Housing Communities have also been funded. Bethel Public Library in Connecticut received a $740,000 grant and a large $900,000 grant went to public television station WNET that same year. Support has also gone to International Tennis Hall of Fame and James Blake Foundation. John Arnhold sits on the executive committee of International Tennis Hall of Fame.


We should mention that Arnhold also engages in philanthropy through the Mulago Foundation, which works in global development. Unlike the Arnhold Foundation, Mulago has a web presence and staff  The forces here are personal, as Arnhold's late brother Rainer practiced medicine in San Francisco while also working in the developing world. Arnhold established the foundation in its current form after Rainer's death in 1993.

In a recent fiscal year, the foundation held some $207 million in assets and gave away around $6.2 million. Mulago has funded outfits such as BOMA Project, which works in Kenya to "help the poorest women in those communities establish small businesses that sell local staples," and Jacaranda Health, which combines the right technologies, efficient systems, and a patient-centered customer service model to make quality care affordable and desirable for poor women." (Click here for a list of other outfits funded). Unfortunately for grantseekers, the foundation doesn't accept proposals.

As this rundown shows, Henry H. Arnhold is involved in a bit with a wide variety of philanthropic interests. His son, John, and other family members already appear to motivate some of Arnhold's giving. The next generation of Arnhold philanthropy should be watched carefully. Arnhold's porcelain collection may also come into play down the line.