Spielberg’s Wunderkinder Foundation joins list of Madoff victims
Steven Spielberg suffered some losses in the Bernard Madoff fraud scandal, though apparently nowhere near a rumored $300 million.
However, the famed filmmaker’s private Wunderkinder Foundation had some investments with Madoff, though Spielberg spokesman Marvin Levy said he was unable to detail the assets or losses of the foundation.
The Wunderkinder Foundation (translated as child prodigies) is a relative modest one compared to Spielberg’s much better-known Shoah Foundation and Righteous Persons Foundation.
According to the latest available public filing with the IRS, the Wunderkinder Foundation’s 2006 statement, covering the previous tax year, showed assets of $12,573,018 and grant distributions of $5,215,016. Spielberg gave $2 million to the foundation and is listed as the only donor.
According to press reports, Madoff managed 70 percent of the foundation’s dividend and interest income in 2006.
The lion’s share of the foundation’s grants, according to the IRS filing, went to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, which received $3,338,000 for medical research.
The Ross School in New York City received $500,000 and the local Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services got $100,000.
Smaller grants went to some 55 diverse organizations and institutions, from the American Museum of Natural History to the Young Musicians Foundation.
From the Federation:
LOS ANGELES, Dec 15, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) — The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles has been advised by The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles that it, together with a number of other major philanthropic institutions, as well as individuals and for profit investment companies, is included among those which have been victimized by an alleged fraud perpetrated by the New York based firm, Bernard Madoff Investment Securities LLC.
The Jewish Federation, together with other local charitable bodies, has for decades participated in a Common Investment Pool (CIP) managed by the Jewish Community Foundation. The CIP invests, with the input of professional advisors, significant funds on behalf of the Federation’s United Jewish Fund Endowment Fund in a range of investment classes and vehicles. Among these has been Bernard Madoff Investment Securities LLC.
We have been informed by the Jewish Community Foundation that the Federation’s United Jewish Fund Endowment Fund may have sustained a loss of $6.4m as a result of the actions of Bernard Madoff Investment Securities LLC. This constitutes approximately 11% of Federation’s endowment funds as of December 2008.
Stanley Gold, Chairman of the Board of the Jewish Federation, stated, “We are both shocked and saddened to learn of this alleged fraud. The Jewish Federation is exploring various options to fully understand its exposure as well as how this occurred. We intend to aggressively protect and recover as much of Federation’s investment with Bernard Madoff Securities LLC, as possible. We will take all necessary actions to assure this type of action so hurtful to those who depend on our charitable organization never happens again.”
The Jewish Federation will continue to utilize the funds in the United Jewish Fund Endowment Fund to support its essential life saving work, at home and abroad, on behalf of the Los Angeles Jewish Community.
From The Jewish Community Foundation
LOS ANGELES (December 15, 2008)–The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles (The Foundation) today issued the following letter to the public regarding the impact of the collapse of the Bernard Madoff investment funds. The Foundation, the largest manager of charitable gift assets for Los Angeles Jewish philanthropists, stated:
The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles was shocked and outraged to learn that it is among the many victims of the massive fraud attributed to veteran Wall Street investment advisor Bernard Madoff.
The Foundation invested a total of $18 million with the Madoff firm, representing less than 5% (five percent) of the Foundation’s assets.
Donor Advised Funds were not affected by the Madoff fraud. Donor Advised Funds are held separately in Treasury notes and other government instruments.
The $18 million was part of The Foundation’s Common Investment Pool, set aside for long-term endowment-type uses.
The loss, while unprecedented in The Foundation’s 54-year history, does not threaten The Foundation’s stability, its existing commitments, or its ability to maintain its leading role in the Los Angeles philanthropic community.
Despite this loss, The Foundation has a long-term record of generating favorable returns from its investments. The Foundation’s emphasis on diversification, both of investments and of investment advisors, helped limit the impact of the Madoff collapse.
In light of the substantial recent declines in the stock market as well as the financial impact of the Madoff situation, The Foundation is re-evaluating its investment strategies and examining ways to respond to these changed market conditions. This process includes a full review of The Foundation’s policies, practices and due-diligence procedures.
The Foundation is aggressively pursuing every possible recovery and remedy related to the Madoff situation.
We are committed to a fully transparent sharing of information with our donors, supporters, grant recipients and the community, and will continue to report to The Foundation’s constituencies as we learn more. This will include updates to a dedicated page on The Foundation’s website at www.JewishFoundationLA.org.
Cathy Siegel Weiss Marvin I. Schotland
Chair President and CEO