Non-profit

Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund

Location:

NEW YORK, NY

Tax ID:

31-1774905

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2016):

Revenue: $3,231,802,694
Expenses: $324,162,296
Assets: $4,720,956,415

Formation:

2001

Type:

Donor-Advised Fund Provider

Principal Officer:

Karey D. Dye

Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund is a donor-advised fund provider associated with the Goldman Sachs. A donor-advised fund, it distributes charitable donations at the direct request of donors. It was founded in 2001 and is the third-largest fund of its kind.

Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund reported “approximately 8,000 grants totaling approximately $317,572,338 to charitable organizations” in 2016. The Fund received over $3.2 billion in donations in 2016, and had assets of $4.7 billion. [1]

Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund does not pay any staff directly, according to its 2016 IRS filing (Form 990). [2]

Background

Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund is a provider of donor-advised funds, charitable vehicles that allow donors to establish directed giving through funds within a large nonprofit. A number of financial institutions and brokerages, such as Schwab, Fidelity Investments, and Goldman Sachs established charitable arms to operate donor-advised funds; Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund is one such charity.

According to the National Philanthropic Trust, a provider of such funds, donor-advised funds make up more than three percent of all charitable donations in the U.S. Donors to such funds receive a tax deduction, cannot revoke their donation, and see their dollars invested tax-free through the fund. Donors are then able to recommend grants from their money. [3]

Because public charities like GSPF are not required to disclose their donors, donors seeking privacy may establish donor-advised funds to anonymize contributions to controversial organizations. [4]

Policies

According to its formal Program Circular, the Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund’s minimum initial gift amount is $25,000 to open an account. Additional minimum contributions are $5,000. [5]

Contributions are generally managed by the Fund itself. However, an individually managed account may be created for accounts with at least $5 million. These are accounts where the donor may direct some investment efforts. [6]

Grant recommendations of any size must be at least $250 in size and made in $50 increments, according to the Program Circular. The grant amount cannot be larger than the amount of money in one’s account. [7]

Fund Recipients

Many of the donations made by donors through the Fund are given to educational institutions and other groups without political affiliations. In 2014, however, GSPF reported making contributions of $155,850 to five Planned Parenthood affiliates, including the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. [8] It also donated $19,750 to the Heritage Foundation in 2014.

2018 Donor Disclosure Error

Two pages from IRS documents were temporarily publicized on the non-profit data site GuideStar in January 2018. Bloomberg reported that the Fund’s three largest donors were Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs’ widow Laurene Powell Jobs, and Whatsapp founder Jan Koum. The publicization of the pages revealed that Ballmer donated $1.9 billion in 2016, Jobs gave $526 million in 2016, and Koum donated $114 million. [9]

These donors drove the Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Funds’ 450 percent growth in donations between 2015 and 2016. The Fund received $623 million in 2015, and $3.2 billion in 2016.

Criticism

The high wealth of many donors, tax benefits of donations, lack of disclosure requirements as compared to private foundations, and more have led to criticism of these donor-advised funds as a concept, as well as of Goldman Sachs Philanthropy the GSPF donors became public, Marc Gunther at The Nonprofit Chronicles highlighted the tax write-off which Ballmer likely received for his donation – up to $600 million. [10]

A column written by Alan Cantor in 2018 at the Chronicle of Philanthropy criticized the lack of transparency. Cantor claimed that funds like Goldman Sachs’ are part of “Wall Street’s takeover of the charitable world” and quoted critiques from EO Tax Journal Editor Paul Streckfus about how “real charities” hesitate to critique donor-advised funds. According to Streckfus, charitable groups which critique donor-advised funds’ allegedly “siphoning off billions of dollars into investment,” critics may be taken off of donor-advised funds’ list of potential recipients.

Leadership

Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund’s senior-most leaders in 2016 included Richardo Mestres as Chairman and Karey Dye as President. Mestres is a partner of, and previously was Chairman for, the law group Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. Dye has been Managing Director of Goldman Sachs since 2000. [11] [12]

The Fund disclosed in its 2016 IRS filing (Form 990) that nine members of its 18-person leadership team had “a business relationship because they are officers in the same business or investment entity or because they are employed at a company where a Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund officer or director is an officer or director.”

References

  1. Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund, 2016 990, Accessed February 9, 2019. https://pdf.guidestar.org/PDF_Images/2016/311/774/2016-311774905-0dfe53e9-9.pdf ^
  2. Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund, 2016 990, Accessed February 9, 2019. https://pdf.guidestar.org/PDF_Images/2016/311/774/2016-311774905-0dfe53e9-9.pdf ^
  3. National Philanthropic Trust, “What is a Donor-Advised Fund (DAF)?”, Accessed February 9, 2019. https://www.nptrust.org/what-is-a-donor-advised-fund/ ^
  4. Ludwig, Hayden. “Charitable Infidelity: Providing Clear Intent.” Capital Research Center. September 20, 2018. Accessed March 08, 2019. https://capitalresearch.org/article/charitable-infidelity-part-2/. ^
  5. Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund, Program Circular, Accessed February 9, 2019. https://gspf.goldman.com/gspf/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=2PilKgnPYjA=&tabid=111&mid=554&forcedownload=true ^
  6. Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund, Program Circular, Accessed February 9, 2019. https://gspf.goldman.com/gspf/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=2PilKgnPYjA=&tabid=111&mid=554&forcedownload=true ^
  7. Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund, Program Circular, Accessed February 9, 2019. https://gspf.goldman.com/gspf/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=2PilKgnPYjA=&tabid=111&mid=554&forcedownload=true ^
  8. Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund, 2014 990, Accessed February 9, 2019. http://990s.foundationcenter.org/990_pdf_archive/311/311774905/311774905_201412_990.pdf ^
  9. Tom Metcalf, “A Peek Into Goldman’s Black Box Charity Reveals Tech Billionaires,” March 14, 2018. Accessed February 9, 2019.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-14/peek-into-goldman-s-black-box-charity-reveals-tech-billionaires ^

  10. Marc Gunther, “Philanthropy’s Dark Money,” March 20, 2018. Accessed February 9, 2019. https://nonprofitchronicles.com/2018/03/20/philanthropys-dark-money/ ^
  11. LinkedIn, “Karey Dye,” Accessed February 9, 2019. https://www.linkedin.com/in/karey-dye-99603373/ ^
  12. Sullivan & Cromwell, LLP, “Ricardo A. Mestres, Jr.” Accessed February 9, 2019. https://www.sullcrom.com/lawyers/RicardoA-MestresJr ^
  See an error? Let us know!

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
    2016 Dec Form 990 $3,231,802,694 $324,162,296 $4,720,956,415 $20,498,723 N $3,190,157,926 $0 $42,750,713 $0
    2015 Dec Form 990 $623,220,697 $327,172,895 $1,733,570,407 $1,866,664 N $579,612,123 $0 $39,252,067 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $980,449,540 $218,984,326 $1,500,395,380 $12,783,888 N $950,663,376 $0 $18,961,034 $30,000 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $329,789,332 $211,013,628 $770,856,701 $31,707,831 N $304,692,096 $0 $13,866,233 $30,000 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $273,830,821 $137,922,234 $591,788,105 $5,410,220 N $263,472,461 $0 $11,225,136 $30,000 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $175,980,409 $97,850,267 $426,562,541 $4,596,837 N $172,604,510 $0 $6,626,270 $30,000 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund

    200 W ST 15TH FL
    NEW YORK, NY 10282-2102