Spreading Kindness Our Way
“Inspired Giving” was ingrained in Alex Cohen as a child. Growing up in Washington Heights, she saw her mother care for an entire community by babysitting neighbors’ children, organizing rummage sales for their local church, and throwing baby showers for young, single women. Alex quickly learned that kindness wasn’t a choice. It was a responsibility.
As the years went on, Alex took this responsibility to heart, no matter how difficult her own life circumstances. Whenever she felt vulnerable—working as a single mom, giving birth to premature twins, or being diagnosed with Lyme disease—she thought of helping others and that became a source of strength and solace. Going through hard times first-hand made Alex want to go above and beyond so others wouldn’t have to suffer.
Today, that mission has grown. Every cause Alex and her husband Steve support has a personal connection to their lived experiences and that alone inspires their giving.
Where We Give
*Amount reflects total dispersed from GIVE; total including committed from GIVE is $97.9 million. Amount does not include grants from Cohen Veterans Network; total including CVN is $1B+.
Connections to Our Causes
Lyme & Tickborne Diseases
Alex was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2009. Even with treatment, her symptoms persisted. This difficult journey made the Cohens realize that we desperately need new research on preventing, diagnosing, and treating tickborne illnesses. The Foundation is now the largest private donor of Lyme and tickborne disease research in the United States with an investment of $73 million in over 25 projects.
Millions of Americans suffer from debilitating and chronic medical conditions, including mental health, currently aided by traditional treatment methods with limited effectiveness. Psychedelic compounds, such as psilocybin present a new opportunity for addressing these treatment-resistant conditions and the Cohens are on the forefront of pushing projects that can bring new hope to patients.
Watching members of her Washington Heights community struggle and succeed gave Alex real insight into the needs of the underserved. Through the Foundation’s donations to mobile markets, meal delivery programs, community resource centers, and rebuilding efforts, the Cohens are making sure no one is left behind.
When Alex and Steve’s twins were born prematurely, they were exposed to the needs of fragile newborns and learned how vital proper healthcare and resources are to this vulnerable population. Today, the Cohens support children’s causes through their donations to children’s hospitals, charter schools, and community youth organizations.
As art lovers, Alex and Steve believe great beauty and inspiration should be accessible to everyone. They are tireless in advocating on behalf of both students and artists. The Foundation’s grants to art museums, exhibitions, and arts education programs expand access to the arts, enrich people’s lives, and give artists the opportunity to share their talent.
In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Alex visited her family’s homeland of Puerto Rico. There, she witnessed the devastation of people’s homes and livelihood, but also their dedicated efforts to lay the groundwork for renewable energy and sustainable food sources. Today, the Cohens are leading the Foundation’s charge toward promoting sustainability.