January 21, 1939
|Children||3, including Stacy H. Schusterman|
Lynn Schusterman (née Rothschild; born January 21, 1939) is an American billionaire philanthropist. She is the co-founder (with her late husband Charles) and chair of Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, and founder of several other philanthropic initiatives including Schusterman Family Philanthropies – Israel, the ROI Community and Jerusalem Season of Culture (a.k.a. Mekudeshet).
Lynn Schusterman was born as Lynn Rothschild to a Jewish family on January 21, 1939 at Menorah Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. She was raised in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where she attended Sunday school and was confirmed in the local B'nai Israel Reform synagogue. She has two younger sisters. Her mother, Amelia Mayer, was the daughter of Moses Emmanuel Mayer and Helen Loewen Mayer, of Iowa and Kansas, respectively. Her father, Wes Rothschild, was a brother of Louis Rothschild who served in the Eisenhower Cabinet. Her parents divorced at an early age and she was raised by her mother and stepfather, Harold Josey, who ran an investment company called H.I. Josey & Company. Although Jewish, her family also celebrated Christmas and Easter. She graduated from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida.
In 1962, she married Charles Schusterman, who was also Jewish although of Russian-Jewish origin. Charles grew up in Tulsa, the son of Sarah Goldstein, a Jewish emigrant from Riga, Latvia, and Sam Schusterman, a Jewish emigrant from Minsk, Belarus, who was in the used oilfield pipe equipment business. Charles graduated from the University of Oklahoma. Charles and his brother later founded their own oil and gas company and then after dividing the business, Charles developed his portion of the company into the Samson Investment Company (named after his father), which eventually became one of the largest gas exploration and production companies in the country. Charles, now a billionaire, was diagnosed with leukemia in 1983 and died in 2000.
In 1987, they started the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation (renamed in 2021). The foundation donates 75 percent to Jewish causes around the world and 25 percent to Oklahoma needs. In 2011, Schusterman joined Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and others by signing the Giving Pledge. Schusterman's giving is focused on the global Jewish community, Israel and her hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
One goal of Schusterman's philanthropy is to "improve lives, strengthen communities and advance equity". She is known for her work in strengthening Jewish identity, supporting young Jewish innovators, expanding opportunities for service learning and promoting inclusivity, especially within the Jewish LGBT community. Among the national Jewish organizations she supports are BBYO, Hillel, Moishe House, Birthright Israel, Repair the World and Keshet. In 1994, Schusterman helped to found a branch of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life in the Former Soviet Union in order to "reconnect thousands of Jews, once denied access to their heritage, with Judaism and the Jewish people." Since 1998, she has authorized more than $6 million to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Israel, including a major grant to help with the renovation of the museum campus.
Schusterman also supports programs in "education, child advocacy and youth leadership in and around Tulsa, Oklahoma, and providing assistance to non-sectarian charitable organizations dedicated to enhancing the quality of life throughout Oklahoma." She is a supporter of Teach For America and Teach For All and was instrumental in establishing Teach For America to create a corps in Tulsa and Israel. Schusterman has also been deeply involved in the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect, both in Tulsa, OK, and in Jerusalem, where she helped to establish the Haruv Institute. in 2017 Haruv Institute establish the Haruv USA at OU Tulsa, in aim to share the Jerusalem Haruv Institute experience.
Among her largest single gifts were grants to Brandeis University to create the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies and to the University of Oklahoma to create the Schusterman Center campus in Tulsa. Schusterman also contributed $6 million to the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies at The University of Texas at Austin.
In addition to her philanthropy, Schusterman holds a variety of leadership positions in organizations such as BBYO, Hillel, Repair the World and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. She is also a founding member of the Birthright Israel Foundation.
In her hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Schusterman serves on the advisory boards for the Foundation for Tulsa Schools and the Parent Child Center of Tulsa.
She has been published in the Jewish Week, the Forward, JTA, eJewishPhilanthropy, Contact and Tulsa World. Her reflection on family philanthropy appears in Voices from the Heartland, a collection of essays from 50 Oklahoma women, and she also contributed to A Dream of Zion: American Jews Reflect on Why Israel Matters to Them. Her work has been profiled in the global Jewish and secular press, including the Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Huffington Post, and others.
In 2000, along with her late husband Charles, Schusterman was inducted into the Tulsa Hall of Fame; in 2003, into the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame; and in 2006, into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.
In 2007 she received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
Schusterman was honored in 2008 with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Public Service award and she has been named one of the "Forward 50" by the Forward newspaper five times.
A mother and grandmother, Schusterman has been a pioneer for women in philanthropy, and her charitable work stresses the importance of family, giving back to society and helping those who help themselves.
Schusterman has three children and six granddaughters:
Footing the $300,000 tab were a group of five noted Jewish philanthropists including World Jewish Congress chairman Edgar Bronfman, Tulsa philanthropist Lynn Schusterman, Hillel board member Michael Steinhardt, Estee Lauder cosmetics heir Ron Lauder and Leonard Abramson.
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