Ellen Susman




Houston, Texas and New York, New York


Television journalist



Briarcliff College

Political Affiliation:

Democratic Party


Stephen Susman


Susman Family Foundation

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Ellen Spencer Susman is a career journalist married to Stephen Susman, one of the most successful trial lawyers in America. Together the Susmans have founded, support, and participate in multiple left-of-center organizations and are top fund raisers for Democratic Party causes and candidates.

Personal Background

Born in 1950, Ellen Spencer Susman received a degree in English in 1972 from Briarcliff College (later absorbed by Pace University). 1

Her parents were Gordon Spencer, President and CEO of Spencer Industries a now-defunct supplier to large retail chains such as J.C. Penney, and his wife Babette. 2

She is married to Stephen Susman, co-founder of the law firm Susman Godfrey LLP. They have four children and reside in Houston, Texas and New York, New York. 3


Ellen Susman is a television journalist and author. She began her career in 1977 as host of “Evening/PM Magazine,” a KWY-TV production in Philadelphia. Later she founded a speaker’s bureau and produced conferences for multinational corporations. 4

With the founding of Ellen Susman Enterprises, she began moderating and facilitating seminars for corporations.

In 2001 she produced a conference “the Myth of Superwoman” focused on the issue’s women face in the workplace and followed that theme with production of “Superwoman Central” which aired on PBS Houston which evolved into “Balancing Your Life with Ellen Susman,” which aired on PBS nationally.

She has sat on the boards of Blanton Museum of Art, The Aspen Art Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Currently, she sits on the Board of Trustees of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. 5

Political Activities

Susman is co-founder of the Texas Future Project, a left-of-center strategy organization that is committed to turning Texas into a Democratic Party-controlled state. TFP partners with Battleground Texas, which organizes minority and low-income people in large Texas cities; the left-of-center Texas Organizing Project; and secretive Democracy Alliance; and Planned Parenthood. 6 7 8

Susman has sat on the board of Democracy Alliance,9 Texas-based pro-abortion candidate recruiting group Annie’s List, and the media outlet Texas Tribune. 10 11

Susman was the top female bundler in Texas for the re-election campaign of President Barack Obama in 2012 raising $1.1 million in donations including $967,000 from employees of her husband’s law firm. After Obama’s re-election, she was appointed as director of the U.S. State Department’s Art in Embassies Program. 12 She is a consistent donor to politicians in the Democratic Party including hosting a fundraising dinner for now-U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) during his run for the Senate. 13 14


Ellen Susman is the president of the Susman Foundation (formerly the Susman Family Foundation) with assets of $4,818,914, income of $119,521 and expenses of $757,408 including grants totaling $710,750. Grants were made to charities including hospitals, museums and Jewish faith organizations, including the left-leaning advocacy group Anti-Defamation League. 15


  1. “Director of the Art in Embassies Program: Who Is Ellen Susman?” AllGov. Accessed January 11, 2020.
  2. “Director of the Art in Embassies Program: Who Is Ellen Susman?” AllGov. Accessed January 11, 2020.
  3. “Obituary of Gordon Spencer: The Mather-Hodge Funeral Home.” The Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, Princet… Accessed January 11, 2020.
  4. “About ”” Ellensusmancom About Comments. Accessed January 13, 2020.
  5. “” Ellensusmancom Home Comments. Accessed January 11, 2020.
  6. “Texas Future Project.” Off the Kuff, March 9, 2014.
  7. “Members.” Texas Organizing Project. Accessed January 13, 2020.
  8. Fikac, Peggy. “Democratic Heavy-Hitters Look to Build Progressive Majority in Texas.” Houston Chronicle, February 24, 2014.
  9. Bill-Mcmorris. “Ellen Susman: Stand By Your Man.” Washington Free Beacon. Washington Free Beacon, September 19, 2012.
  10. “ Applications.” 403. Accessed January 13, 2020.
  11. Texas Tribune Inc. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), Part VII Section A Line 5, 2012, Accessed January 13, 2020.
  12. “Director of the Art in Embassies Program: Who Is Ellen Susman?” AllGov. Accessed January 13, 2020.
  13. Sunlight Foundation. “Most Likely to Exceed: Who’s Poised to Double down Post-McCutcheon.” Sunlight Foundation, October 26, 2016.
  14. Dunham, Richard. “Texas Political Cash Engulfs National Political Scene.” Houston Chronicle. Houston Chronicle, November 3, 2012.
  15. Susman Foundation, Return of Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2017, Part II Line 16, Part I Lines 12, 26, 25, Part XV Line 3. Accessed January 13, 2020.

Connected Organizations

  1. Texas Future Project (For-profit)
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