Friend and Benefactor
Michael H. Steinhardt, presently a noted philanthropist focusing on Jewish causes, entered the field of money management over 30 years ago. He began his career as a research associate, staff writer and securities analyst before launching his own company, Steinhardt Partners, L.P., where he made his fortune in one of the most spectacular careers in the history of Wall Street.
Michael has always believed that wealth and achievement are not enough to give full value and meaning to life. At the same time, he has felt growing alarm about the erosion of Jewish identity, and deep concern about the threat to continuity of non-orthodox Jews through the generations.
In 1995, after a legendary career as Wall Street's most successful money manager, Michael Steinhardt stunned the financial world by announcing that he would close the hedge fund that had made him wealthy and famous to devote his time and fortune largely to the causes of the Jewish world. These have included the Israel Museum, Hillel and its Steinhardt Jewish Campus Services Corps., and the creation of the Jewish Life Network (JLN), of which he is the primary funder. JLN was founded by Steinhardt to renew and transform the Jewish community with innovative projects that nurture the identity of individual Jews while transforming the institutions of Jewish community to reach the widest spectrum. Among JLN's achievements thus far have been the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education, in which Steinhardt spearheaded an effort that successfully recruited 12 major Jewish philanthropists who joined together to expand day school opportunities for children in North America; and Makor, a pioneering social and cultural outreach to Jews in their 20s and 30s.
Michael is the founding co-chairman of Birthright Israel and one of the new ownership group of Israel's leading bank, Bank Hapoalim.
In 2001, the School of Culture, Education, and Human Development proudly celebrated its 110th anniversary and took on a new name: The Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. This name change honors Michael and Judy Steinhardt whose gift – the largest in the school's history – supports faculty development, doctoral fellowships, and research for the school's academic programs.