The Life and Legacy of Benjamin Altman:
100 Years of Giving

In 2013, the Altman Foundation celebrated the centennial of the establishment of the Foundation, and honored the life and legacy of our founder. Benjamin Altman was a very private man and although a contemporary of major early twentieth century philanthropists, he is not well known. A handful of emerging leaders established significant philanthropic foundations in New York City between 1907 and 1913. These include the Russell Sage, Carnegie and Rockefeller Foundations. Altman is among this august group.

Altman created several lasting legacies. The first came from his retailing genius, as one of the first retailers to turn the department store, originated in Paris, into an American institution. The extraordinary bequest of his art collection to the Metropolitan Museum enriches the culture of his city and the lives of millions of visitors from around the world. The most resounding legacy continues every day in the Altman Foundation’s work in education, health, arts and culture, and strengthening communities.

We are deeply grateful to our board, staff, grantees and partners — both past and present, public and private — for helping us bring Benjamin Altman’s vision to life every day for 100 years and counting.

The Altman Foundation is proud to present a portrait of Benjamin Altman and reflections on the Foundation’s 100-year milestone.