Non-profit

Vital Projects Fund

Location:

NEW YORK, NY

Tax ID:

13-3711340

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)-PF

Budget (2015):

Revenue: $30,347,030
Expenses: $12,765,623
Assets: $314,591,016

Formation:

1992 [13]

President:

David F. Menschel [14]

Vital Projects Fund is a grant making organization created from the estate of stockbroker Horace W. Goldsmith. It supports a number of left-of-center advocacy organizations. [1]

Goldsmith died in 1980 and half of his net assets were given to two charitable organizations chaired by two brothers who both worked for Goldman Sachs, the Charina Fund and the Vital Projects Fund. Robert Menschel was the chairman of the board for Vital Projects Fund, while his brother Richard Menschel was the chairman of Charina. [2]

Vital Projects Fund supports performing arts and museums, higher education, and hospitals. [3] The organization makes grants supporting social liberalism and criminal justice reform. [4]

Leadership

David F. Menschel is the president of the Vital Projects Fund. [5] Menschel is a leading advocate for abolishing the death penalty. [6] Members of the board of directors include Jay Rivilin, Lauren E. Menschel; Richard L. Menschel; Robert B. Menschel; and Ronay Menschel. [7]

Robert and Richard Menschel, both board members of the Vital Projects Fund, were award the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy in 2015. Both became senior directors at Goldman Sachs. They were both trustees in the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, a philanthropy that focused largely on Jewish organizations. [8]

Grant Recipients

The Vital Projects Fund has given grants of more than $1 million to Syracuse University, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The fund has given grants of more than $500,000 to the Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell Medical School and the Proteus Fund. Grantees receiving between $100,000 and $500,000 include the American Civil Liberties Union, the Netroots Foundation, the Coalition for the Homeless, and Yale and Harvard law schools. [9]

The fund’s grants to the ACLU Foundation and ACLU chapters in Colorado, Delaware, and Montana supported social liberalism and criminal justice reform. The organization has also given to the Brennan Center for Justice, a left-of-center legal policy center at New York University. [10]

The Vital Projects Fund also donated $90,000 to the University of North Carolina School of Law for its Prosecutors and Politics Project, which is a study of the impact of elected prosecutors on the administration of justice. The project includes an examination of campaign contributions. [11]

The Vital Projects Fund helped to finance the production of Untouchable, a 2016 documentary about the unintended consequences of the sex offender registry. The fund also helped to pay for the making of the Dirty Wars, a documentary that examined U.S. covert operations in the war on terrorism. [12]

References

  1. Vital Projects Fund. Cause IQ. Accessed September 19, 2019. https://www.causeiq.com/organizations/vital-projects-fund,133711340/ ^
  2. Adeniji, Ade. “Low Profile, Long Track Record: The Philanthropy of the Menschel Brothers.” Inside Philanthropy. March 9, 2015. Accessed September 19, 2019. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/wall-street-wallets/2015/9/3/low-profile-long-track-record-the-philanthropy-of-the-mensch.html ^
  3. Vital Projects Fund. Foundation Directory Online. Accessed September 19, 2019. https://fconline.foundationcenter.org/fdo-grantmaker-profile/?key=VITA008 ^
  4. Vital Projects Fund. Good Pitch. Accessed September 19, 2019. https://goodpitch.org/orgs/vital-projects-fund ^
  5. Vital Projects Fund. Big Database. Accessed September 19, 2019.  http://www.bigdatabase.com/Big-DB/USFoundation-profiles/VITAL%20PROJECTS%20FUND%20INC-133711340.HTML ^
  6. Geidner, Chris. “The Most Ambitious Effort Yet to Abolish the Death Penalty is Already Happening.” BuzzFeed. November 8, 2015. Accessed September 19, 2019. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/chrisgeidner/the-most-ambitious-effort-yet-to-abolish-the-death-penalty-i ^
  7. Vital Projects Fund. Big Database. Accessed September 19, 2019.  http://www.bigdatabase.com/Big-DB/USFoundation-profiles/VITAL%20PROJECTS%20FUND%20INC-133711340.HTML ^
  8. Adeniji, Ade. “Low Profile, Long Track Record: The Philanthropy of the Menschel Brothers.” Inside Philanthropy. March 9, 2015. Accessed September 19, 2019. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/wall-street-wallets/2015/9/3/low-profile-long-track-record-the-philanthropy-of-the-mensch.html ^
  9. Vital Projects Fund. Big Database. Accessed September 19, 2019.  http://www.bigdatabase.com/Big-DB/USFoundation-profiles/VITAL%20PROJECTS%20FUND%20INC-133711340.HTML ^
  10. Adeniji, Ade. “Low Profile, Long Track Record: The Philanthropy of the Menschel Brothers.” Inside Philanthropy. March 9, 2015. Accessed September 19, 2019. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/wall-street-wallets/2015/9/3/low-profile-long-track-record-the-philanthropy-of-the-mensch.html ^
  11. Press Release. “UNC School of Law Launches Prosecutors and Politics Project.” University of North Carolina School of Law. February 25, 2019. Accessed September 19, 2019. https://www.unc.edu/posts/2019/02/25/unc-school-of-law-launches-prosecutors-and-politics-project/ ^
  12. Kozlowska, Hanna. “How America Treats its Sex Offenders is Deeply, Morally Complex.” Quartz. April 29, 2016. Accessed September 19, 2019. https://qz.com/671413/how-america-treats-its-sex-offenders-is-deeply-morally-complex/ ^
  13. Vital Projects Fund. Foundation Directory Online. Accessed September 19, 2019. https://fconline.foundationcenter.org/fdo-grantmaker-profile/?key=VITA008 ^
  14. Vital Projects Fund. Big Database. Accessed September 19, 2019.  http://www.bigdatabase.com/Big-DB/USFoundation-profiles/VITAL%20PROJECTS%20FUND%20INC-133711340.HTML ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: June 1, 1993

  • 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 $30,347,030 $12,765,623 $314,591,016 $19,160,993 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form PF $19,407,586 $12,540,064 $315,148,082 $22,479,988 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $21,685,961 $21,254,099 $291,788,646 $23,707,341 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $10,687,853 $11,074,022 $244,639,411 $13,192,145 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $15,890,253 $11,090,769 $229,101,436 $13,305,955 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Vital Projects Fund

    375 PARK AVE STE 1602
    NEW YORK, NY 10152-1600