Belfer Family Foundation: Grants for Higher Education

OVERVIEW: The Robert A. and Renee E. Belfer Family Foundation funds larger organizations in health research and cybersecurity.

IP TAKE: This is another foundation that gives generously, but lacks transparency. It does not maintain a web presence, which restricts a clear way to apply for funding. The current status of its grantmaking in health research is also unclear.

PROFILE: Businessman Arthur Belfer fled Poland in the 1930's, ultimately founding an oil empire that is now in its third generation. The foundation funds higher education health research and cybersecurity.

As IP has reported, Robert and Renee Belfer, along with their son Lawrence, have recently shown a major concern with cybersecurity. To that end, they recently gave a $15 million gift to the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School to establish the Cyber Security Project, which "seeks to help create the conceptual arsenal" for strategists to confront cyber threats.

In the past, the Belfers have also funded health-related research, particularly cancer. Robert Belfer has served on the boards of a number of university and non-academic medical research centers. Over the course of several years, for example, Belfer donated at least $250 million to Weill Cornell Medical College, enabling it to open the Belfer Research Building, an 18-story, $650 million research facility conducting research into cancer, cardiovascular disease, global health and neurodegenerative disorders. More recently, the foundation gave a more modest general operating award to the Weill Medical College.

Tax filings indicate that the foundation conducts grantmaking by solicitation only.


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Robert A. and Renee E. Belfer Family Foundation
767 5th Ave., 46th Fl.
New York, NY 10153
Telephone: (212) 508-9500