JPB Foundation




Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2015):

Revenue: $910,727,304
Expenses: $170,551,890
Assets: $3,455,452,962

The JPB Foundation is a private foundation created by Barbara Picower in 2011. It is one of the largest grant-making foundations in the United States. [1] Focused on medical, environmental, and poverty issues, the Foundation makes grants to a number of left-of-center advocacy and community organizing groups. [2]

Picower opened the Foundation after the closure of her prior grant-making group, the Picower Foundation, and two years after the death of her husband, Jeffry Picower. The Picowers were the recipients of billions of dollars in investments through Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, $7.2 billion of which was lost in a civil lawsuit.


The Foundation’s initial funding came from Barbara and Jeffry Picower’s assets. Its $1.1 billion in initial assets was nearly doubled by the end of 2012 thanks to Jeffry Picower’s assets. [3]

Most of the Foundation’s revenues came from sales of assets in 2017. $17 million came from donations and grants in 2017, over $42 million from investments, and over $196 million from sales of assets. [4]

Its assets as of 2017 totaled over $4 billion, with over $264 million in revenues.


The Foundation focuses on three areas of interest: poverty, medical research, and the environment. Each area has several sub-focuses that match its values. [5] The Foundation’s two Advisory Committees – one focused on poverty and the environment, the other focused on medical issues – oversee grant-making decisions. [6][7]

The Foundation funded dozens of organizations in 2017. Among the JPB Foundation’s grant recipients are numerous left-of-center advocacy and public policy organizations. [8]

Multi-Issue Advocacy

JPB Foundation supports a number of left-of-center multi-issue advocacy groups. The Democratic Party establishment-aligned think tank Center for American Progress received $3.4 million for anti-poverty efforts in 2017; the group was also promised $5.9 million in future grants. The liberal political advocacy group Color of Change received $500,000 in 2017 and a future grant promise of $500,000; Advancement Project received $750,000. [9]

JPB Foundation provided the social-liberal litigation and advocacy group American Civil Liberties Union and its affiliated organizations with $1.175 million. The Tides Center received $800,000 in 2017 and a promise of $100,000 for future funding. [10]

High-dollar donations are common for the Foundation. It gave Center for Community Change $4.45 million in 2016, nearly a third of that organization’s revenues in 2016. [11][12] It gave the non-profit advisory organization The Bridgespan Group over $4 million in 2016. [13] Barbara Picower is on The Bridgespan Group’s Board of Directors. [14]


JPB Foundation is a major funder of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America; in 2017, it provided the group with $6.9 million through three grants. Planned Parenthood’s South Florida affiliate received $400,000.

In 2017, JPB Foundation provided the former Planned Parenthood research arm, and current abortion and abortion-related research group, Guttmacher Institute with $875,000. Likewise, the abortion legal group Center for Reproductive Rights received $1.45 million. [15]

Left-Wing Media

The commentary and news magazine American Prospect received $200,000, with $400,000 more funding scheduled in future years. Grist Magazine, an environmentalist web magazine, also received funding from the Foundation in 2017. [16]


A number of environmental groups received funding. Earth Day Network’s $50,000 was dwarfed by other groups’ grants, such as the $2 million provided to Earthjustice and $1,042,700 provided to the Sierra Club. [17]


Barbara Picower is President of the Foundation. Chief Investment Officer Gerald McNamara is the highest earner of its staff, making over $1.5 million in 2017. [18][19]

As of 2014, Picower was on the Board of Directors for Living Cities and on an advisory board for the Harvard School of Public Health. [20]

Picower also spoke at Duke University in 2017 and contributed a column in 2019 to Stanford’s Social Innovation Review. [21][22]

Former Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards was a board member of the JPB Foundation in 2017, her last full calendar year as Planned Parenthood’s president. [23]


The Picowers fought against a lawsuit from 2008 – when the Bernie Madoff investment scams were exposed – until the U.S. Attorney General’s office intervened in ongoing lawsuits against the Picowers’ estate in 2011. That lawsuit ended in $7.2 billion of Jeffry Picower’s assets being provided to Madoff’s victims. [24]

Picower, McNamara, Chief Operating Officer April Freilich, and others who are in senior staff and board positions for the JPB Foundation were sued in connection with Jeffry Picower’s alleged involvement in Madoff’s schemes. While the Picowers claimed they were simply beneficiaries, Madoff alleged that they were involved in the scams. The lawsuit was dismissed multiple times. [25][26]

A similar lawsuit was dismissed in 2019. [27] Yet another was dismissed in 2016, in which Madoff’s victims said the JPB Foundation was using money which they should have been provided. [28]

The Picowers’ previous foundation provided almost $3.8 million to the Southern Poverty Law Center between 2001 and 2008. [29] Its assets were managed by Madoff.


  1. Foundation Center, Foundation Stats, Top 50, Accessed July 23, 2019.
  2. JPB Foundation, Program Areas, Accessed July 23, 2019.
  3. Nathan Vardi, “Barbara Picower is back in business as one of the nation’s top philanthropists,” September 9, 2014. Accessed July 23, 2019.
  4. Pro Publica, JPB Foundation 2017 990, Accessed July 23, 2019.
  5. JPB Foundation, Our Values, Accessed July 23, 2019.
  6. JPB Foundation, Advisory Board, Accessed July 23, 2019.
  7. JPB Foundation, About the Foundation, Accessed July 23, 2019.
  8. Pro Publica, JPB Foundation 2017 990, Accessed July 23, 2019.
  9. Pro Publica, JPB Foundation 2017 990, Accessed July 23, 2019.
  10. Pro Publica, JPB Foundation 2017 990, Accessed July 23, 2019.
  11. Pro Publica, Center for Community Change 990s, Accessed July 23, 2019.
  12. Pro Publica, JPB Foundation 2016 990, Accessed July 23, 2019.
  13. Pro Publica, JPB Foundation 2016 990, Accessed July 23, 2019.
  14. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicines, Barbara Picower profile, Accessed July 23, 2019.
  15. Pro Publica, JPB Foundation 2017 990, Accessed July 23, 2019.
  16. Pro Publica, JPB Foundation 2017 990, Accessed July 23, 2019.
  17. Pro Publica, JPB Foundation 2017 990, Accessed July 23, 2019.
  18. Pro Publica, JPB Foundation 2017 990, Accessed July 23, 2019.
  19. JPB Foundation, Leadership, Accessed July 23, 2019.
  20. Living Cities, Barbara Picower, Accessed July 23, 2019.
  21. Duke Sanford School YouTube video, “A conversation with Barbara Picower of the JPB Foundation,” October 12, 2017. Accessed July 23, 2019.
  22. Barbara Picower, “Doing more with big bets,” Spring 2019. Accessed July 23, 2019.
  23. JPB Foundation, About the Foundation, Board of Directors, Accessed July 24, 2019.
  24. Nathan Vardi, “Barbara Picower’s crocodile tears,” April 12, 2011. Accessed July 23, 2019.
  25. Jonathan Stempel, “Madoff victims cannot sidestep $7.2 billion settlement: U.S. judge,” January 25, 2017. Accessed July 23, 2019.
  26. Izzy Kapnick, “Investor claims charity tied to Madoff funds,” February 24, 2016. Accessed July 23, 2019.
  27. Epperly & Follis, “Federal judge blocks $11B side lawsuit by Madoff victims,” April 13, 2017. Accessed July 23, 2019.
  28. Jane Musgrave, “Madoff victims still want billions from Jeffry Picower’s estate,” February 18, 2016. Accessed July 23, 2019.
  29. Influence Watch, Southern Poverty Law Center profile, Accessed July 23, 2019.

Donation Recipients

  1. Alliance for a Healthier Generation (Non-profit)
  2. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation (Non-profit)
  3. American Prospect (Non-profit)
  4. BlueGreen Alliance (Non-profit)
  5. Center for American Progress (CAP) (Non-profit)
  6. Center for Community Change (CCC) (Non-profit)
  7. Center for Law and Social Policy (Non-profit)
  8. Center For Reproductive Rights (Non-profit)
  9. Center for the Study of Social Policy (Non-profit)
  10. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) (Non-profit)
  11. Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) (Non-profit)
  12. Environmental Working Group (EWG) (Non-profit)
  13. Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund (Non-profit)
  14. Food Research and Action Center (Non-profit)
  15. Four Freedoms Fund (Non-profit)
  16. Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities (Non-profit)
  17. Guttmacher Institute (Non-profit)
  18. Human Rights First (Non-profit)
  19. Island Press Center for Resource Economics (Non-profit)
  20. Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Non-profit)
  21. Living Cities (Non-profit)
  22. Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (Non-profit)
  23. National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (Non-profit)
  24. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) (Non-profit)
  25. NEO Philanthropy (Non-profit)
  26. Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) (Non-profit)
  27. Robin Hood Foundation (Non-profit)
  28. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (Non-profit)
  29. Tides Center (Non-profit)
  30. Tides Foundation (Non-profit)
  31. Trust for Conservation Innovation (For-profit)
  32. Trust for Public Land (Non-profit)
  33. William J. Brennan Center for Justice (Non-profit)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: January 1, 2012

  • 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
    2015 Dec Form PF $910,727,304 $170,551,890 $3,455,452,962 $2,625 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form PF $962,385,721 $135,525,103 $3,048,095,419 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $1,218,962,297 $93,866,862 $2,221,234,801 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $1,115,268,017 $55,658,889 $1,095,982,138 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $100,047,221 $57,666,891 $42,380,330 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    JPB Foundation

    NEW YORK, NY 10022-7202