Menschel, Richard L. and Robert B.

Menschel, Richard L. and Robert B.

Year

Affiliation

The Robert and Joyce Menschel Family Foundation

Areas of Focus

Art

New York-based brothers Richard and Robert Menschel both share Andrew Carnegie’s philosophy that with wealth comes a responsibility to contribute to the world’s betterment and a more open and just society. Their dedication and talent took them both to the top of the investment banking field at prestigious Goldman Sachs, and they have been giving back in countless ways for decades.

Richard Menschel is as an art collector, philanthropist, and sponsor of health, education, and the arts. He attended the Bronx High School of Science, graduated from Syracuse University, and became an officer in the U.S. Air Force. While stationed in Turkey, he contracted polio, but that illness would not constrain his life. Armed with a gift for leadership and a sense of humor, he graduated from Harvard Business School and joined Goldman Sachs—becoming a partner and later a member of the Management Committee. He retired in 1988 and is now a senior director.

Throughout his career, Richard Menschel has been known as a giver, generous with both his wealth and his time. His philanthropic support for numerous organizations has been directed personally, and through trusts and the Charina Foundation, the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, and subsequently, the Charina Endowment Fund.

In addition to his philanthropic work, Richard Menschel has contributed his leadership talent to numerous organizations, including the Joffrey Ballet and George Eastman Museum. An active collector of photography for almost fifty years, he established curatorial chairs in photography at The Morgan Library & Museum and Harvard Art Museums.

He has served on the boards of the Hospital for Special Surgery, The Morgan Library & Museum, and the Vera Institute of Justice, and generously supports the American Civil Liberties Union, the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, and the International Rescue Committee. He has been a partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative led by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and served on New York City’s Panel for Educational Policy under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. His wife and fellow philanthropist, Ronay Menschel, has been a leader in government and is active with numerous educational, housing, medical, and arts organizations.

Like his brother, Robert Menschel provides liberal support and leadership for an extensive and varied list of organizations, both large and small. He graduated from Syracuse University and then attended New York University Graduate School of Business. As a partner at Goldman Sachs, he founded the Institutional Department that became the model for the industry; he is currently a senior director of Goldman Sachs Group. Robert Menschel is also chairman and managing director of the foundation Vital Projects Fund, a director of the Charina Endowment Fund, and former managing director of the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation.

Robert Menschel clearly agrees with Andrew Carnegie’s belief that “there is no mode of disposing of surplus wealth creditable to thoughtful and earnest men into whose hands it flows save by using it year by year for the general good.” His enthusiastic commitment to education and social reform, as well as health and the arts, knows no bounds. He established the Light Work Photography Organization’s program and Media Center at Syracuse University and the Menschel Photography Gallery at the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, among other photography programs around the nation. His foundation is also a leader in its commitment to criminal justice reform.

He has led the boards of the Museum of Modern Art and Syracuse University, and is a member of the Executive Committee of New York Presbyterian Hospital. He has served on the boards of the New York Public Library, the National Gallery of Art, the Institute for Advanced Study, Montefiore Hospital, Chess-in-the-Schools, and Congregation Emanu-El of New York City. He was also a member of President Clinton’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Robert Menschel established the Paul Volcker Chair in Behavioral Economics at the Maxwell School of Citizenship at Syracuse University, and is the author of the book Markets, Mobs & Mayhem.

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