The JPB Mission
To advance opportunity in the United States through transformational initiatives that empower those living in poverty, enrich and sustain our environment, and enable pioneering medical research.
The JPB Foundation marks a new beginning in the enduring philanthropic legacy of Jeffry M. and Barbara Picower. Born to ordinary circumstance and educated as a lawyer, the late Jeffry M. Picower used his exceptional skill as an investor to pursue a lifetime of giving. Jeffry and Barbara measured their success not by accumulated wealth, but rather by their ability to make the world a better place, particularly for those who were unable to do so for themselves.
For decades, Jeffry and Barbara gave extensively to an array of medical, youth, and civic causes, with the goal of helping to create a better world. Among numerous high-impact grants made through The Picower Foundation, Jeffry and Barbara gave early backing to the Harlem Children’s Zone and organized the Picower Quality Childcare Initiative, a multi-partner program to improve the quality of child care within Palm Beach County. Their 2002 grant of $50 million to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which created the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, was then the largest donation the university had received from a private foundation.
The JPB Foundation, endowed with funding bequeathed by Jeffry M. Picower and led by Barbara Picower as President and Chair, sustains the philanthropic spirit that animated Jeffry and Barbara’s history of giving. Building on the successes of The Picower Foundation, JPB remains faithful to their longstanding goal to have as large an impact as possible on pressing societal problems.
Toward this end, The JPB Foundation:
- Focuses on grants with the potential to transform our understanding of issues, our scientific knowledge, and our communities themselves;
- Directs its giving to three program areas— alleviating problems associated with poverty, advancing medical research, and promoting a healthy environment—in which, through The Foundation’s sustained focus over time, it can make a significant difference;
- Aggressively explores opportunities to fund initiatives touching on multiple foundation program areas;
- Uses knowledgeable consultants and its own research to identify areas where the need for funding is greatest, and where The Foundation’s giving can have the most beneficial effect;
- Focuses on prevention rather than remediation;
- Seeks collaborations with other foundations and interested parties in recognition that societal problems are too large to solved by a single entity;
- Supports research that fills important gaps in our understanding of the problems that face people in the U.S.;
- Uses an evidence-based approach to its work, conducting intervention studies in order to identify successful programs and opportunities for improvement and share its gained knowledge; and
- Pursues initiatives that if successful can be scaled and expanded by The Foundation, its partners, and others.
To assist it in performing the most innovative and effective work, The JPB Foundation has assembled high-level Advisory Boards in each of its three program areas, composed of distinguished experts from a variety of disciplines within each field. The Poverty Advisory Board is chaired by Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, Commissioner of the NYC Department for the Aged. The Medical Research Advisory Board is chaired by Nobel Prize Laureate Paul Greengard, PhD, the Vincent Astor Professor and Head of the Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience at The Rockefeller University. The Environment Advisory Board is chaired by Daniel P. Schrag, PhD, the Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology, Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering, Director of the Laboratory for Geochemical Oceanography, and Director of the Harvard University Center for the Environment. In addition to identifying specific areas of interest within each program area, the Advisory Boards counsel The Foundation on strategies for achieving impact, analyze potential grants, and provide vital guidance to JPB as it implements, evaluates and expands its programs.
Through its Board of Directors, Advisory Boards, President and Chair Barbara Picower, and dedicated staff, The JPB Foundation works to honor the great philanthropic ambitions of its benefactor, Jeffry M. Picower.