- Assets: $10,891,436 (2010)
- Grants Awarded: $520,722 (2010)
The Samuel Rubin Foundation states that its general purpose is "to carry on the vision of its founder, Samuel Rubin, whose life was dedicated to the pursuit of peace and justice and the search for an equitable reallocation of the world's resources." The Foundation bears the stamp of Rubin’s life experience. Born in 1901 in Bialystok (which was then in Czarist Russia, now in Poland), Rubin immigrated to America with his parents when he was a young boy. The family settled in a poor Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, where Rubin's parents opened a small "dry goods" store. As a young man, he joined the Communist Party. So committed was he to his political cause, that he named his son Reed in honor of U.S. Communist John Reed, who organized the Communist Labor Party and wrote Ten Days That Shook The World and was ultimately honored by the Soviets with burial in the wall of the Kremlin.
Rubin claimed to be appalled by the "plunder, hunger, and devastation" which he considered to be the bitter fruits of Western capitalism. Notwithstanding his love of socialism, however, he used his considerable business acumen to earn a vast fortune. In 1937 he founded Faberge Perfumes, developing it from a small specialty shop into a major cosmetics firm. In 1959 he used his personal wealth to establish the Samuel Rubin Foundation. Four years later, Rubin sold Faberge for $25 million and directed a portion of those proceeds to his Foundation. He died on December 21, 1978.
In 1963 the Samuel Rubin Foundation created the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), which lays claim to the title of "the nation's oldest multi-issue progressive think tank." Samuel Rubin's daughter, Cora Weiss, was a director of the Rubin Foundation from its inception, and was instrumental in the funding decision to create IPS. Today she is the Foundation's President. Her husband, Peter Weiss, was the first IPS board chairman and is currently the Rubin Foundation's Treasurer.
Cora Weiss became known for her role in the psychological warfare conducted against U.S. prisoners of war held in the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" during the Vietnam War. At the time, Weiss was a leader of the group "Women Strike for Peace," which enjoyed the strong support of the Communist Party. She attempted to coerce the relatives of American prisoners-of-war to make pro-Communist propaganda by promising them, in exchange, contact with their loved ones in Hanoi. None of the families accepted the arrangement.
In the 1980s, Weiss was the director of the Disarmament Program at New York's Riverside Church. This program was a leader in supporting the Soviet-inspired nuclear freeze movement. As Riverside's director, Weiss was one of the organizers of a 1982 disarmament rally -- the largest ever held -- in New York City. The event was organized by a coalition of Communist and radical groups.
Today in her capacity as President of the Samuel Rubin Foundation, Cora Weiss is a leader in a new effort among large defense- and security-related foundations to coordinate their philanthropy. This effort commenced in 1999, when a number of large and influential foundations established the Peace and Security Funders Group. The initial steering committee of PSFG consisted of the Ford Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the John Merck Fund, the Ploughshares Foundation, the Samuel Rubin Foundation, and the W. Alton Jones Foundation.
Cora Weiss' husband, the aforementioned Peter Weiss, holds strong leftist credentials in his own right. The senior partner of the New York law firm Weiss, Dawid, Fross, Zelnick & Lehrman, he is (in addition to being the Treasurer of the Samuel Rubin Foundation) a prominent member of the pro-Castro Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee, and the National Lawyers Guild. The rest of the Rubin Foundation leadership are family members as well. The Vice President is Judy Weiss and the Directors are Daniel Weiss and Tamara Weiss.
Since its inception, the Samuel Rubin Foundation has been a consistent funder of leftist groups and causes. Among the many recent beneficiaries of its philanthropy are the following: the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute (through which the Rubin Foundation made a donor-advised, or specifically earmarked, grant to the United For Peace and Justice antiwar coalition); Alliance for Justice; the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation; the Center for Constitutional Rights; the Council on Foundations; Fourth Freedom Forum; Global Exchange; Grassroots International; Human Rights Watch; the Immigrant Workers Resource Center; the Institute for Policy Studies; the Institute for Public Accuracy; the Jane Addams Peace Association (a donor-advised grant earmarked for the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom); the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy; MADRE; The Nation Institute; the National Lawyers Guild; the National Security Archive; the New Israel Fund (through which it made donor-advised grants earmarked for B'Tselem, the Middle East Children’s Association, and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel); Nonviolent Peaceforce; the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (through which it made a donor-advised grant to the Abolition 2000 Global Network); the Paul Robeson Foundation; Pax Christi USA; the Peace Action Education Fund; Physicians for Human Rights; and September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, the Tides Center; the Transnational Institute (which the Rubin Foundation created in 1973); the United Nations; and the Women’s Action for New Directions Education Fund.
To view a list of additional noteworthy grantees of the Samuel Rubin Foundation, click here.
(Information on grantees and monetary amounts courtesy of The Foundation Center, GuideStar, ActivistCash, the Capital Research Center and Undue Influence)