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Jenifer Altman Foundation
Funders Network on Trade and Globalization

Jenifer Altman Foundation
P.O. Box 29209
San Francisco, CA 94129
Phone: 415-561-2182
Fax: 415-561-6480
Email: info@jaf.org
Website: www.jaf.org
EIN: 94-3146675
Exempt since January 1991

Description: Anti-corporate foundation based on the fortune of an investment banker / wood pulp corporate mogul.
Donates heavily to anti-trade organizations and opponents of large-scale farming. Extreme anti-chemical, anti-industry hostility. Belongs to anti-capitalist networks: International Forum of Globalization and Funders Network on Trade and Globalization. Donated over $350,000 to
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, primarily for networking and travel; nearly $200,000 to Tides Center, primarily for anti-chemical projects.

Public Perception: The foundation's leaders mischaracterize benefactor Jenifer Altman as "a Senior Research Associate at Commonweal, a health and environmental research institute in Bolinas, California. She established the Jenifer Altman Foundation shortly before her death in 1991."

Reality: In fact, research was neither Altman's career nor the source of her wealth. In her late forties she was diagnosed with terminal cancer, went to Commonweal for help and became involved with the organization for the short remainder of her life. The Foundation's website shamelessly exploits her tragic death at the age of 50 to rail against chemicals as if they killed her, egregiously linking her death to a global "Age of Extinctions" allegedly being caused by industrial civilization. The foundation does not reveal that Altman's grandmother also died of cancer at a similar age -- in 1942 at age 49.

The truth about Jenifer Altman and her wealth is less melodramatic and more human. Jenifer Altman was born in New York in 1941, the socialite daughter of attorney Jerome John Altman and heiress Celeste Ruth Altman. Jenifer's mother Celeste was  heiress to the fortune of D. Samuel Gottesman (1885-1956), wood pulp merchant and financier. 

David Samuel Gottesman was brought to America from Hungary as a child. He went into business as a young man and built his Gottesman & Company, Inc. into Central National Gottesman Inc., a billion-dollar pulp and paper company. He was also a successful investment banker for decades, organizing the Central National Bank in New York City, and was a director of Eastern Corporation and Rayonier, Inc. His philanthropy enriched the New York Public Library and numerous Jewish aid organizations. His best-known gift was the purchase of four of the Dead Sea Scrolls, his presentation of them to Israel, and his heirs' sponsoring of the Shrine of the Book to house them  in Jerusalem.

D. Samuel Gottesman's daughter, Celeste Ruth Gottesman, inherited many millions from his estate. Celeste married Harvard law school graduate Jerome John Altman in 1935, shortly after she was graduated from Wheaton College.

Thus, Jenifer Altman was born in 1941 into a privileged Park Avenue and Long Island life. Her parents divorced and her mother married prominent M.I.T.-trained architect Armand Bartos, whose New York firm was subsequently selected to design the Shrine of the Book in Israel, piquing Israeli architects because an outsider got the job through family connections.  Celeste Bartos maintains a Park Avenue address, accumulated a noted collection of modern art, and became a golden donor to the Museum of Modern Art, its motion picture preservation facility, and the New York Public Library, giving her daughter Jenifer access, advantage and means to explore photography, environmentalism, and the expressive arts.

Upon being diagnosed with cancer in her late forties, Jenifer Altman traveled to Bolinas, California, in the Point Reyes National Seashore, where she sought help at Commonweal, an eclectic treatment center founded by Michael Lerner, former Yale University faculty member and 1983 MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" recipient.

Commonweal operates a program for cancer patients who remain under the care of their physicians, and are offered yoga, meditation, massage, vegetarian diets, support groups, and discussions of choices in healing, mainstream and complementary therapies, pain control, and death and dying. Jenifer became interested in helping others in Commonweal as her own death approached. She was given the title of Senior Research Associate.

Shortly before her death in 1991, she established the Jenifer Altman Foundation and asked Michael Lerner to be its president. Lerner has used the foundation to forward his anti-chemical, anti-industry, and anti-capitalist agenda ever since.

Jenifer Altman Foundation acts in concert with two other foundations in making grants:

  • Mitchell Kapor Foundation, Michael Lerner, president
    One Broadway 10th Floor
    Cambridge, MA 02142
    Donor Mitchell Kapor is the founder of Lotus Development Corp., software firm.

    Jenifer Altman Foundation manages the administrative and program of Mitchell Kapor Foundation
  • StarFire Fund, a fund of the Philanthropic Collaborative at Rockefeller Financial Services, Room 5600 / 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112.
    Co-founded by Michael Lerner and Holly Hoffman.
    Jenifer Altman Foundation manages the program activities of StarFire Fund.
Jenifer Altman Foundation Revenue and Expenses: Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2001
  Revenue     Expenses
Contributions $50,000
Government Grants $0
Program Services $0
Investments $2,732,93
Special Events $0
Sales $0
Other $158,805
 
Grants $689,250
Administration $710,733
Other $0
Total Expenditures $1,399,983
   
Total Assets $17,803,351
Total Revenue $2,941,736   NET GAIN/LOSS $1,541,753
Jenifer Altman Foundation Board of Directors
Michael Lerner, PhD, President / Director Thomas Silk, Secretary
Albert Wells, Treasurer Catherine Porter, Director
Anne Bartley, Director Marni Rosen, Executive Director

Michael Lerner, President  Salary $127,938 benefits $29,652
President, Mitchell Kapor Foundation, Cambridge, MA
President, Commonweal (health care provider), Bolinas, CA
President, Smith Farm Center for the Healing Arts, Washington, DC
President, Consultative Group on Biodiversity.
Co-founder, Health and Environmental Funders Network
Co-founder and senior adviser, StarFire Fund.
Vice-President, Pinewood Foundation

MAJOR DONOR LINK: The Pinewood Foundation was established in New York in February 1958 by Celeste G. Bartos, mother of Jenifer Altman and major donor to the Jenifer Altman Foundation. Pinewood Foundation is managed by Rockefeller & Company, a subsidiary of Rockefeller Financial Services, Room 5600 / 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112. Pinewood was the name of the Lawrence, Long Island estate of D. Samuel Gottesman, father of Celeste Bartos and grandfather of Jenifer Altman.
Celeste G. Bartos is also a director of the
D. S. & R. H. Gottesman Foundation, 3 Manhattanville Rd., Purchase NY 10577-2116.

Marni Rosen, Executive Director

Profile of Board Members:

  • Thomas Silk, Secretary: Principal, Silk Adler & Colvin, law firm specializing in nonprofit law; A.B., University of California at Berkeley, 1959; J.D.  School of Law (Boalt Hall) of the University of California at Berkeley, 1963. 1964-1968 U.S. Department of Justice, Tax Division, as Appellate Attorney and then Special Assistant. Published extensively - articles: "The Legal Framework of the Nonprofit Sector in the United States;" "Tax Considerations Before Incorporation," book: Philanthropy and Law in Asia. Lectures on nonprofit law development in the Asia Pacific region and in Central and Eastern Europe.
  • Albert Wells, Treasurer: Contributor to Commonweal.
  • Catherine Porter, Director: Legal Services and Public Policy Coordinator, Women's Cancer Resource Center, 3023 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94705
  • Anne Bartley, Director: President and trustee, Rockefeller Family Fund

Sample grants by Jenifer Altman Foundation:

Recipient: Travelers Aid Society of San Francisco. Tenderloin Childcare Center , San Francisco , CA
Abstract: For counseling services for children and their families
Amount: $20,000             Year Authorized: 1994 

Recipient: Tides Foundation , San Francisco , CA
Abstract: For conference calls and publication and distribution of newsletters at Citizens Network for Sustainable Development
Amount: $10,000             Year Authorized: 1994

Recipient: Tides Foundation. Regeneration Project , San Francisco , CA
Abstract: For assessment of earth and spirit movement
Amount: $10,000             Year Authorized: 1994 

Recipient: Full Circle Programs. Full Circle School , San Rafael , CA
Abstract: For general support
Amount: $25,000             Year Authorized: 1994 

Recipient: Dartmouth College. Office of Grants and Contracts , Hanover , NH
Abstract: For salary, office and travel support
Amount: $108,000             Year Authorized: 1994  

Recipient: Connections for Children , Santa Monica , CA
Abstract: For California Child Care Resource and Referral Network to organize parents for child care advocacy movement
Amount: $10,000             Year Authorized: 1994  

Recipient: Commonweal , Bolinas , CA
Abstract: For general support
Amount: $400,000             Year Authorized: 1994

Recipient: Childrens Council of San Francisco , San Francisco , CA
Abstract: For California Child Care Resource and Referral Network to organize parents for child care advocacy movement
Amount: $10,000             Year Authorized: 1994 

Recipient: Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. Dean's Discretionary Fund , NYC , NY
Abstract: For environmental work and programs
Amount: $10,000             Year Authorized: 1994 

Recipient: Bananas , Oakland , CA
Abstract: For California Child Care Resource and Referral Network to organize parents for child care advocacy movement
Amount: $10,000             Year Authorized: 1994 

Recipient: African Wildlife Foundation , DC
Abstract: For International Gorilla Conservation Program
Amount: $10,000             Year Authorized: 1994

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