Founder of The Steinhardt Foundation in New York, NY
Michael H. Steinhardt is a successful money manager turned philanthropist, dedicated to facilitating a resurgence of American Jewish life. He is a lifelong resident of New York, where he lives with his wife Judy. The Steinhardts have three children and 13 grandchildren.
Many of New York City’s institutions have facilities bearing the Steinhardt name, including New York University’s largest graduate school, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Mr. Steinhardt’s most prominent philanthropic efforts, however, focus on encouraging Jews to marry other Jews and strengthening their ties to the community and to Israel. Mr. Steinhardt points to the losses of the Holocaust and the devastating effects of intermarriage and secularization as the primary motivators of his philanthropic investments.
Together with Charles Bronfman, a billionaire inheritor of the Seagram liquor fortune, Michael Steinhardt founded Birthright Israel, which sends young Jews on free trips to Israel. He orchestrated the creation of a network of Hebrew charter schools. Museums and buildings across Israel are named for his generosity.
In 1994, he founded The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life to “strengthen and transform American Jewish life so that it may flourish in a fully integrated, free society.” The Foundation is determined to rejuvenate Jewish identity by connecting all Jews, particularly those on the margins of Jewish life, to the depth of Jewish civilization, Hebrew language, and Israeli life and culture through ground-breaking initiatives. Ultimately, The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life seeks to build a flourishing, dynamic, and creative Jewish community who contributes to American life and culture through Jewish-inspired knowledge and actions.