How the Joyce and Daniel Cowin Foundation Gives in New York City

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Although the Joyce and Daniel Cowin Foundation does not have a website and maintains a low public profile, it’s still worth keeping an eye on for organizations working in New York City. It’s the foundation of the late investment banker and real estate executive Daniel Cowin, and his wife, civic leader Joyce Cowin. Joyce Cowin serves as the foundation’s current president and chairman, and although there are two other foundation officers, there are no full-time staff or paid employees.

Here are a few things NYC nonprofits should know about the Joyce and Daniel Cowin Foundation and what it prioritizes at the local level.

Major funding priorities

The Cowin Foundation supports a variety of causes that are personal interests for the family. They include Jewish causes, the arts, health, education and youth. The foundation has supported Joyce Cowin’s alma mater, Teachers College, and its partnerships with the New York City Department of Education and the nonprofit Working In Support of Education. Daniel Cowin was an art collector who had a collection of 1930s photography, Art Deco pieces and American folk art. The foundation still sets aside a good amount of funding to support the arts in New York City.

Typical foundation giving

In a recent year, the foundation awarded nearly $2 million in grants. Most of these grants were between $25,000 and $600,000 apiece. In another year, grantmaking stood at a little less than a million dollars. It is common for the foundation to award grants to the same institutions year after year.

Sample past grantees

To give you a sense of how the Cowin Foundation has been awarding grants lately, here’s a sampling of recent funding with the names of grantees and amounts received:

  • Teachers College, Columbia University: $137,334

  • New York Presbyterian Hospital: $200,000

  • The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center: $150,000

  • UJA - Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York: $26,000

Securing a Cowin grant

Unfortunately for local grantseekers, the Cowin Foundation is not very accessible or transparent. According to recent tax records, the foundation does not accept unsolicited requests for funds and only contributes to preselected organizations. If you’d like to learn more about this foundation, including contact information to get in touch with general questions, check out IP’s full profile of the Joyce and Daniel Cowin Foundation, which is part of our New York City and Tri-State Funding Guide.