Founded and led by a family that connects deeply with its Jewish heritage, The Tepper Foundation is committed to ensuring a vibrant and strong American Jewish community. Read this Q&A with Marian Stern, Portfolio Manager for The Tepper Foundation’s work on Jewish causes, to learn more:
Can you provide an overview of your foundation’s mission, especially as it relates to Jewish giving?
Marian: The Tepper Foundation is striving for a society where access to essential resources, services and opportunities is not dictated by one’s background or beliefs. We identify needs in communities and aim to meet them by supporting organizations whose missions ensure that everyone’s essential rights are protected.
One of our priorities is the American Jewish community. Guided by his Jewish identity, David Tepper is a longtime participant in both strengthening Jewish communal life and combating antisemitism. Initially a significant donor in Livingston, New Jersey — where he raised his family — and its surrounding MetroWest community, Tepper supported anchor institutions such as Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest, Jewish Family Service of MetroWest and Temple Beth Shalom. Since then, The Tepper Foundation has become a lead donor to national organizations serving Jewish communities across the country.
Why do you feel it’s important at this specific moment in time to invest in this cause?
Marian: We believe that living free from fear of violence, prejudice and discrimination is an essential right, and that is why we invest in a range of national and community-based organizations that stand up to hate in all forms. And this work is more crucial now than ever before. Amid a frightening rise in antisemitism in the United States and around the world, it is important for The Tepper Foundation to support best-in-class institutions combating this surge.
What are some of the focus areas of giving within the Jewish organization grantees?
Marian: Our Jewish giving work is split into two focus areas: Jewish Life, made up of grantmaking to organizations that work on community building, early childhood and families; and Combating Antisemitism, supporting grantees that are dedicated to combating prejudice and hate crimes against the Jewish people on college campuses, in the media and in the public square.
Can you share some examples of organizations that The Tepper Foundation has funded in this space of antisemitism?
Marian: The foundation is a major funder of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), including its Centers on Extremism and Technology and Society, which track and combat all forms of online hate and harassment. ADL’s latest research shows that online hate and harassment rose sharply in 2022, with 44% of Jewish respondents reporting being harassed and 80% reporting being worried about harassment specifically on the basis of their Jewish identity.
We were a lead supporter of Jewish Federations of North America's LiveSecure Campaign, which has been responsible for securing Jewish sites such as synagogues, schools and Jewish Community Centers across the nation from acts of violence, and we are a proud supporter of the United States Holocaust Museum's Beyond Our Walls Campaign, whose mission is to teach society about the unequaled horrors of the Holocaust in an effort to prevent future genocide.
In our work to combat antisemitism on college campuses, we are major supporters of Hillel International’s Campus Climate Initiative. This program advocates for and protects Jewish students by working with college and university leaders to create campus cultures where Jewish students feel safe expressing their identities and practicing their religion.
Among several other grantees supported by The Tepper Foundation, Shine a Light on Antisemitism is one of our newest. They are working to educate populations nationally about the prevalence of antisemitism in everyday settings and how local communities and citizens can come together to combat it.
Can you tell us more about the work The Tepper Foundation has funded in this space of Jewish Life and youth and family services?
Marian: As a demonstration of The Tepper Foundation’s mission to enhance Jewish life in the United States, especially for young families, we support the Foundation for Jewish Camp, the Meyerson JCC of Manhattan and the Grinspoon Parent Connector Program. Each of these programs connects children and their families with Jewish resources, education and the Jewish community. With more grants to come, the Tepper family will remain steadfast in its mission to meet the evolving needs of the next generation of Jewish children and their parents.
What is the foundation’s long-term plan for Jewish giving, and are there any exciting grants in the pipeline?
Marian: With a deep passion for the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam—”repairing the world”—The Tepper Foundation will continue to be at the forefront of safeguarding Jews and non-Jews alike from violence and extremist rhetoric by making known that identity-based hate has no place in a democracy. The foundation will never retreat from the battle to combat antisemitism nor will it hold back when other populations are also under attack. We know this is a critical moment, and we look forward to expanding our support to meet the need.