Cohen Foundation makes eight-figure donation to MoMA

By Sharbari Kamat

The foundation of hedge fund billionaire Steven Cohen and his wife, Alexandra, has made a $50 million donation to The Museum of Modern Artin Manhattan, museum officials announced Tuesday.

The unrestricted gift from the Stamford-based nonprofit will go to a capital campaign, to support the museum’s ongoing renovation and expansion, MoMA officials said. With the addition of 50,000 square feet of gallery space, the museum will be able to “reconceive” the presentation of its collection and exhibitions and provide greater visitor access through improved public areas, according to museum officials.

“Alex and I have always believed that the arts can, and should, enrich all people’s lives,” Steven Cohen said in a statement. “We are proud to support The Museum of Modern Art, its renovation and its expansion. We are excited to see how this gift and the Cohen Center will allow the museum to bring new and even greater artistic experiences to visitors.”

To recognize the gift from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, the museum plans to create on its sixth floor the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Center for Special Exhibitions, MoMA’s largest contiguous gallery.

“Steven and Alex Cohen are incredible philanthropists, whose longtime generosity to the museum exemplifies their deep commitment to sharing the art of our time with the widest possible audience,” MoMA Director Glenn D. Lowry said in a statement. “This gift will have an extraordinary impact on our ability to present exhibitions at a scale that is virtually unprecedented. I am also thrilled to have Steve as a new member of our board of trustees.”

Steven Cohen joined the MoMA board in June 2016. His own collection of paintings and sculptures — including works by the likes of Picasso, Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons — is worth an estimated $1 billion, according to a 2016 Fortune article. Many pieces in his collection are displayed in the Cummings Point Road headquarters of the Point72 Asset Management firm that he now runs.

The Cohens, who live in Greenwich, have supported the MoMA for many years, with their involvement including the hosting of curatorial and acquisitions programs and special events.

Their foundation is based in a building opened last year at 46 Cummings Point Road, next to the Point72 offices.

With assets of more than $500 million, the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation ranks as one of the largest foundations in Connecticut. It embarked in 2016 on another year of major philanthropic projects. A $50 million commitment to Lyme disease research counted as its largest contribution of the year.

The arts, Lyme disease research, children’s health, education, military veterans, and neighbors comprise the foundation’s six areas of focus.