New York City, NY

This New York billionaire is giving away millions

Ash Jurberg

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Last week I wrote about Julia Koch, the wealthiest woman in New York, and her generosity.

However, she is not the only New York billionaire who is very generous with their wealth. Leonard Stern also supports various charities, with one cause in particular that he supports- homelessness.

Let's take a quick look at his story.

The New York billionaire

Leonard Stern was born in New York City in 1938, the son of a German immigrant.

His father, Max, had a pet supply business, and after graduating from New York University, Leonard joined the family business, Hartz Mountain, in 1959. He eventually bought out his family to take complete control of the business

Leonard expanded the business into real estate, which became Hartz's primary focus. He sold off the pet business for $350 million in 2000, and the firm now owns over 260 real estate properties. At one stage, Leonard also owned the New York City weekly alternative newspaper, The Village Voice.

The success of Hartz has led to Leonard Stern having a net worth of $6.2 billion. And he is putting it to good use.

Philanthropy

Leonard made his first large donation 30 years ago when he donated $30 million to New York University's business school. He funded the NYU Breakthrough Scholars Leadership Program in 2015; he donated another $50 million to NYU for undergraduate scholarships in 2021.

Other educational donations he has made include $10 million to found the Stern College for Women in Manhattan; at the same time, he also supported the establishment of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. He even assisted in convincing Albert Einstein to use his name for the college.

But his primary passion has been in helping the homeless.

In 1986 he founded Homes for the Homeless after walking through City Hall Park one day and noticing how many homeless people were camping out there.

"I can honestly say at the time that I had never seen a homeless family on the streets of New York in my life. Even today you will never see a homeless family on the streets of N.Y. You've never seen a mother with three children sitting on the corner of the streets. The government does an amazingly good job of keeping the shame of the city hidden."

Homes for the Homeless says t, " any given day, nearly 530 families with 725 children ages 0 to 18 reside in safe, clean shelters–our family residences." It also offers other programs such as afterschool & recreation, where youth can get homework help plus enrichment programming. The organization also provides family and employment services.

Leonard has invested millions in Homes for the Homeless, making the nonprofit "the largest provider of transition housing, including shelters, for NYC's homeless families for over 20 years."

Your thoughts

What do you think of Leonard Stern's commitment to the homeless? What other New York organizations do you think Stern should support?

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