Bard College



Annandale-On-Hudson, NY, United States

Tax ID:


Budget (2017):

Revenue: $261,611,971
Expenses: $262,049,859
Assets: $611,396,084


1950 (founded 1860)


Leon Botstein

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Bard College is an American liberal-arts college located in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. The college is active in promoting left-of-center issues such as increased access for underprivileged groups to higher education. The college is closely connected with liberal billionaire financier George Soros, often collaborating on projects with him. 12 The college was also one of the founding members of the Open Society University Network (OSUN), an international coalition of educational institutions established to promote Soros’ idea of “open society” ideals and other left-of-center issues. 3


Bard College was founded by John and Margaret Bard. John was the grandson of Samuel Bard, a doctor in New York City and a founder of the medical school at Columbia University. John and Margaret were owners of a swath of land in New York which they donated to the Episcopal diocese of the state that later started a college. The largest donor to the college was the Bard family but it also received funding from other wealthy New York families such as the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, and Roosevelts. The college was originally named St. Stephens while it was controlled by the Episcopal Church of New York State. 4 5

Bard college began to depart from its Episcopal connection and religious founding in the early 1900s under dean Donald Tewksbury. Tewksbury, a progressive educational philosopher and previous Columbia University professor, shifted the college toward a more secular path and placed a greater influence on the arts, something that was not common at the time. He also renamed the college Bard College from St. Stephens. 6

Levy Economics Institute of Bard College

The Levy Economics Institute is a fiscally sponsored project of Bard College and a left-of-center think tank for debating issues regarding American economics. 7 Named for investor Leon Levy, the institute has swayed from its original goal of debating economic issues such as government intervention in the economy to more modern and liberal issues such as redistribution of wealth based on race and gender, immigration and ethnicity, labor organizing, and other identity- and demographic-based issues. 8

Open Society University Network

Bard College is a member of the Open Society University Network, a coalition organization of multiple colleges aligning in their goal to promote access to higher education for what they view as underprivileged groups. 9 Bard College was one of two colleges to found the organization, the other being Central European University, a college founded by liberal activist billionaire George Soros in 1991. Soros also endowed the organization with $1 billion at its inception. 10


James Cox Chambers is the chairman of the board of trustees for Bard College. He is a billionaire who inherited his wealth from his family, his grandfather having founded Cox Enterprises, a multi-billion-dollar media conglomerate. 11 Chambers is an active donor to many Democratic candidates for public office and has given thousands of dollars to numerous campaigns. Notably, he made donations of $33,800 to the Hillary Victory Fund and Hillary for America, both PACs associated with 2016 Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton; $88,800 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee; and $243,100 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee since 2006. 12

Leon Botstein is the president of Bard College, a position that he has held since 1975. Botstein is a symphony conductor and conducts both the American Symphony Orchestra and The Orchestra Now. Botstein is a member of the global boards of directors for Soros’s Open Society Foundations and also serves as the chancellor for the Open Society University Network. 13 He also serves as the chairman of the board of directors for the Central European University. 14


Bard College reports holding net assets of $345,668,448 as of 2017. 15 The college receives a substantial amount in grants annually from left-of-center and liberal organizations. Notably, the organization has received $2,091,350 from Open Society Foundations since 2016,16 $2,003,145 from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation since 2015,17 $999,900 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,18 and $14,160,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 19


  1. “Bard College – NEWS ABOUT BARD COLLEGE.” LEON BOTSTEIN, July 2, 2016. College. Archive:^
  2. Candid. “Soros, Open Society Award $60 Million to Bard College.” Philanthropy News Digest (PND), May 18, 2011.
  3. “George Soros Announces Global Initiative to Transform Higher Education.” Open Society
  4. “the Bard Family History.” Bard College. Accessed May 20, 2020.
  5. “Education for the Common Good: A History of Bard College.” Kline, Reamer. Accessed May 20, 2020.
  6. “Education for the Common Good: A History of Bard College.” Kline, Reamer. Accessed May 20, 2020.
  7. “About Us.” Levy Economics Institute. Accessed May 20, 2020.
  8. “Research Programs.” Levy Economics Institute. Accessed May 20, 2020.
  9. “Open Society University Network.” Bard College. Accessed May 23, 2020.
  10. “George Soros Launches Global Network to Transform Higher Education.” Open Society Foundations. Accessed May 20, 2020.
  11. “James C. Chambers.” Accessed May 20, 2020.
  12. “Individual Contributions: James Cox Chambers.” Accessed May 23, 2020.
  13. “Global Board: Leon Botstein.” Open Society Foundations. Accessed May 20, 2020.
  14. “People: Leon Botstein.” National Center for Family Philanthropy. Accessed May 20, 2020.
  15. 2017 IRS 990 Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax: Bard College. Accessed May 20, 2020.
  16. “OSF Awarded Grants.” Open Society Foundations, Accessed May 22, 2020.
  17. “SVCF Grants Database.” Accessed May 20, 2020.
  18. “Grants Database.” Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Accessed May 20, 2020.
  19. “Grants Database.” Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Accessed May 22, 2020.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: November 1, 1950

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Jun Form 990 $261,611,971 $262,049,859 $611,396,084 $265,727,636 N $84,011,273 $165,815,998 $9,614,060 $3,240,620 PDF
    2016 Jun Form 990 $255,986,986 $260,119,058 $570,347,009 $242,602,951 N $82,867,366 $161,785,872 $1,602,203 $3,530,961
    2015 Jun Form 990 $239,874,089 $254,025,179 $562,988,461 $210,771,376 N $67,367,827 $156,913,960 $10,101,656 $2,338,506 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $226,974,710 $244,878,524 $573,564,196 $210,562,976 N $61,401,487 $147,468,838 $8,441,345 $2,205,663 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $202,883,237 $237,100,687 $598,264,446 $220,339,054 N $36,343,414 $145,700,650 $13,921,533 $1,667,119 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $196,257,419 $215,879,051 $604,360,955 $209,610,089 N $46,987,945 $133,333,501 $12,774,419 $1,482,044 PDF
    2011 Jun Form 990 $278,115,920 $201,919,041 $615,412,886 $205,352,124 N $129,262,257 $125,898,279 $11,334,119 $1,539,140 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Bard College

    PO BOX 5000
    Annandale-On-Hudson, NY 12504
    United States