Non-profit

Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust

Location:

MANHATTAN, NY

Tax ID:

13-7298842

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)-PF

Budget (2014):

Revenue: $8,789,801
Expenses: $11,770,074
Assets: $53,266,680

Type:

Private Grantmaking Foundation

Formation:

2001

The Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust is the private grantmaking foundation of the late real estate developer and philanthropist Bernard Spitzer and his wife, Anne, whose children include former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D). The foundation is a major contributor to left-of-center nonprofits.

Background

Formed in 2001 in New York City, the Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust has concentrated on grantmaking toward organizations and foundations with a focus on human rights, arts and culture, and education. [1] The grants provided by the trust are mainly for general operating costs rather than specific purposes or projects. According to tax filings, it also accepts unsolicited letters of inquiry and requests for funding. [2]

By 2013, disclosure reports revealed that the trust contained roughly $40 million, $10 million of which was invested within at least four funds using the Cayman Islands as a tax haven. [3] Ironically, former New York governor Elliot Spitzer has previously condemned the usage of similar tax havens and has criticized some like Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) for seemingly using similar tactics to lower their personal income tax rate. During an interview discussing his family trust’s investments within a tax-free environment, he said, “This is not an effort to shield income that should be taxed,” adding, “For tax-free entities, this is where you put your money, whether you are an Ivy League institution or our foundation.” [4]

In 2014, the death of Bernard Spitzer dramatically increased the Spitzer Charitable Trust’s assets. Spitzer left $250 million to the Trust, more than quintupling its roughly $40 million in assets prior to his death.[5] [6] The following year, Eliot Spitzer, who was tasked with directing the execution of Bernard Spitzer’s will, further increased the Trust’s assets by placing significant property holdings into the Trust as well.[7]

Grantmaking

New York City

Between 2001 and 2013, the Spitzer Charitable Trust provided over $30 million in grants towards NYC arts and education organizations, including $25 million towards the City College of New York and $8 million to the American Museum of Natural History. [8]

Environmentalist Grantmaking

From 2018 to 2020, the Spitzer Charitable Trust funded a project that evaluated the use of biofuels as a potential replacement for gasoline to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The left-of-center MacArthur and McKnight Foundations also provided funding for the project.[9]

In 2018 alone, the Spitzer Charitable Trust gave over $4.6 million to environmentalist organizations, including $250,000 to the controversial Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), $500,000 each to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and the Clean Air Task Force, and $300,000 to the left-wing Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).[10]

In 2019, the Spitzer Charitable Trust provided a $300,000 grant to center-left environmental organization the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) for the purpose of “climate change adaptation in federal policy” towards coastal communities and nature-based solutions. [11]

Liberal Law and Policy

The Spitzer Charitable Trust has also funded left-of-center law and criminal justice advocacy organizations. The organization gave its fourth largest grant of 2018 to the Brennan Center for Justice, amounting to $1,050,000.[12] The Trust has also provided funding for the left-of-center Alliance for Justice (AFJ), the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS) , and the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). That same year, the Trust funded several left-of-center immigration organizations and projects, including $600,000 to the Immigrant Justice Corps, $600,000 to the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), and $750,000 to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC).[13]

Recently, the Spitzer Charitable Trust has made contributions to left-of-center policy organizations, most notably the State Priorities Partnership (SPP), a coalition of 42 policy organizations designed to implement left-of-center policy at the state level.[14] The Trust has also supported some of the largest institutional funders of the political left. In 2018, the Spitzer Charitable Trust granted $600,000 to the Hopewell Fund, $800,000 to the Proteus Fund, between $500,000 and $1 million to the Center for American Progress (CAP), and $1.3 million to NEO Philanthropy.[15] [16]

Associations with Eliot Spitzer’s Political Career

In 2008, the trust had invested $3.5 million towards financial advisory firm Metropolitan Capital Advisors, the same year that Silda Wall, Eliot Spitzer’s wife at the time, had been hired by the firm as a lawyer. [17]

According to public records since 2002, several individuals who have invested hundreds of thousands in donations towards the trust were also contributors towards Eliot Spitzer’s political campaigns. [18]

In 2011, the Spitzer Charitable Trust was reported to have invested several million dollars with credit managing firm Golub Capital. In addition, an interview with Eliot Spitzer revealed that he and Golub Capital’s CEO Lawrence E. Golub attended prep school in the 1970s and that the latter donated $60,000 towards Spitzer’s campaigns for New York state attorney general and later for governor. [19]

People

Sara Kay is a left-wing activist and the CEO of the Spitzer Charitable Trust.[20] Kay previously worked as a senior fellow at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and as head of advocacy and health-equity programs at the left-of-center Atlantic Philanthropies.[21]

References

  1. “Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust: Grants for Human Rights.” Inside Philanthropy. 4/23/20. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/funding-for-global-security/bernard-and-anne-spitzer-charitable-trust-grants-for-human-rights ^
  2. “Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust: Grants for Human Rights.” Inside Philanthropy. 4/23/20. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/funding-for-global-security/bernard-and-anne-spitzer-charitable-trust-grants-for-human-rights ^
  3. Barbaro, Michael. “Family Trust Offers Possible Clues to How Spitzer Would Invest City’s Funds.” The New York Times. August 21, 2013. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/22/nyregion/family-trust-offers-possible-clues-to-how-spitzer-would-invest-city-pension-funds.html ^
  4. Barbaro, Michael. “Family Trust Offers Possible Clues to How Spitzer Would Invest City’s Funds.” The New York Times. August 21, 2013. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/22/nyregion/family-trust-offers-possible-clues-to-how-spitzer-would-invest-city-pension-funds.html ^
  5. Marsh, Julia. “Eliot Spitzer to Inherit Millions More than Siblings in Dad’s Will.” New York Post. New York Post, November 11, 2014. https://nypost.com/2014/11/10/eliot-spitzer-to-inherit-millions-from-father/. ^
  6. Barbaro, Michael. “Family Trust Offers Possible Clues to How Spitzer Would Invest City’s Funds.” The New York Times. The New York Times, August 22, 2013. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/22/nyregion/family-trust-offers-possible-clues-to-how-spitzer-would-invest-city-pension-funds.html. ^
  7. Bockmann, Rich. “Eliot Spitzer Real Estate: Spitzer Engineering.” The Real Deal New York, January 4, 2018. https://therealdeal.com/2015/12/18/eliot-spitzer-has-started-splitting-up-late-fathers-real-estate-empire/. ^
  8. Barbaro, Michael. “Family Trust Offers Possible Clues to How Spitzer Would Invest City’s Funds.” The New York Times. August 21, 2013. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/22/nyregion/family-trust-offers-possible-clues-to-how-spitzer-would-invest-city-pension-funds.html ^
  9. Jossi, Frank. “In Midwest, Ethanol and Electric Vehicle Advocates Join Forces on Clean Fuel Plan.” Energy News Network. Fresh Energy, March 2, 2020. https://energynews.us/2020/03/02/in-midwest-ethanol-and-electric-vehicle-advocates-join-forces-on-clean-fuel-plan/. ^
  10. “Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust.” Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, Form 990, 2018. Part XV, Line 3A. ^
  11. “Spitzer Trust Grant to Expand EESI’s Work on Resilience.” Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI). Accessed April 22, 2020. https://www.eesi.org/press-releases/view/spitzer-trust-grant-to-expand-eesis-work-on-resilience ^
  12. “Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust.” Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, Form 990, 2018. Part XV, Line 3A. ^
  13. “Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust.” Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, Form 990, 2018. Part XV, Line 3A. ^
  14. Rojc, Philip. “A Time for Reform: Philanthropy and the Push for Better State Policymaking.” Inside Philanthropy. Inside Philanthropy, May 6, 2020. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2020/4/27/room-for-reform-funders-role-in-the-push-for-better-state-policymaking. ^
  15. “Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust.” Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, Form 990, 2018. Part XV, Line 3A. ^
  16. “Our Supporters.” Center for American Progress. Accessed May 12, 2021. https://www.americanprogress.org/c3-our-supporters/. ^
  17. Barbaro, Michael. “Family Trust Offers Possible Clues to How Spitzer Would Invest City’s Funds.” The New York Times. August 21, 2013. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/22/nyregion/family-trust-offers-possible-clues-to-how-spitzer-would-invest-city-pension-funds.html ^
  18. Barbaro, Michael. “Family Trust Offers Possible Clues to How Spitzer Would Invest City’s Funds.” The New York Times. August 21, 2013. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/22/nyregion/family-trust-offers-possible-clues-to-how-spitzer-would-invest-city-pension-funds.html ^
  19. Barbaro, Michael. “Family Trust Offers Possible Clues to How Spitzer Would Invest City’s Funds.” The New York Times. August 21, 2013. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/22/nyregion/family-trust-offers-possible-clues-to-how-spitzer-would-invest-city-pension-funds.html ^
  20. “Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust.” Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, Form 990, 2018. Schedule 14. ^
  21. Strickland, Anais. “Ex-Clinton Foundation CEO Signs on With Eric and Wendy Schmidt Group.” philanthropy.com. The Chronicle of Philanthropy, January 20, 2017. https://www.philanthropy.com/article/ex-clinton-foundation-ceo-signs-on-with-eric-and-wendy-schmidt-group/?cid=gen_sign_in. ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: August 1, 2001

  • 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
    2014 Dec Form PF $8,789,801 $11,770,074 $53,266,680 $11,108,704 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $4,065,136 $7,223,983 $55,845,711 $10,776,820 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $4,689,613 $7,041,404 $59,597,186 $11,369,448 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $6,921,609 $3,197,964 $61,411,975 $10,832,446 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust

    555 MADISON AVE 18TH FL
    MANHATTAN, NY 10022-3387