As some Wall Street executives cut their charitable donations last year, the foundation of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein boosted its giving by 25 percent, according to the nonprofit’s federal tax filings.
The Lloyd & Laura Blankfein Foundation’s more than 30 donations totaled almost $1.7 million in its fiscal 2010, which ended Jan. 31, compared with $1.3 million the previous year. The gifts ranged from $620,000 to Harvard Law School to a $250 check to the Bridgehampton Fire Department on Long Island.
The Harvard Law gift and a $500,000 donation to the Ethical Culture Fieldston School were the largest (there were two other Fieldston donations totaling $45,000). Blankfein’s sons, Alex and Jonathan, and his wife, Laura Jacobs Blankfein, attended Fieldston. The charity also gave $50,000 to Barnard College, Laura Blankfein’s alma mater.
Harvard Law spokeswoman Emily Dupraz said the institution doesn’t comment on “or disclose information” about alumni gifts.
“Gestures like the gift to the fire department are ‘good- neighbor grants,’” Melissa Berman, chief executive officer of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors in New York, said in a phone interview. “The gifts to schools one has attended are affiliation grants. All of us, even people of modest resources, support their local house of worship or institutions they have been affiliated with.”
The foundation gave $100,000 to the UJA-Federation of New York and the Weill Cornell Medical College. Its donations last year to the Robin Hood Foundation rose to $46,500 from $5,000 in 2008. In 2006, Blankfein made two donations to Robin Hood totaling $850,000.
In the past decade, the Blankfeins have been quietly creating a philanthropic legacy through their foundation, giving an average of $1.3 million a year. During that period, Blankfein’s pay included an annual salary of $600,000 and $125.6 million in cash bonuses. He took home a total of $240 million in salary, bonuses and stock awards from 2000 to 2009, according to Goldman filings.
Goldman spokesman Joseph Snodgrass declined to comment about Blankfein’s philanthropy.
The couple also made grants to the arts, giving $5,000 each to the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Roundabout Theatre Co. in Manhattan, New York’s largest nonprofit theater, which has staged several Tony award-winning plays. Carnegie Hall received $10,000.
Smaller gifts of $1,000 each went to Dorot, a New York nonprofit that aids the elderly, the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons and New York Cares, which mobilizes volunteers to help the city’s disadvantaged.
Berman said it’s possible that Blankfein also gives some of his wealth regularly to “Goldman Sachs Gives,” a donor-advised fund set up in November 2007 by the company. Upon its launch, Goldman’s partners agreed to commit “a part” of their overall compensation to charitable organizations around the world.
“It’s impossible to tell from the family foundation information the scope of what Lloyd Blankfein and his family care about because I think we’re only seeing a tiny fraction of what they’re giving,” Berman said.