History of the Esther A. and Joseph Klingenstein Fund
The EAJK Fund was established in 1945 by Esther and Joseph Klingenstein. Joe Klingenstein was a co-founder of the investment firm Wertheim and Company.
During their lifetimes, Esther and Joe’s concern for individual human welfare was reflected in contributions they made primarily to institutions in which they were personally involved, mainly in the New York City area. Most of these were Jewish causes, such as the Jewish Home for the Aged, where Esther was very active, and hospitals, especially Mount Sinai, where Joe often volunteered after this workday had ended. Joe led Mount Sinai as its Board Chairman for many years and along with his brother-in-law Milton Steinbach, was instrumental in helping establish its medical school.
When John Klingenstein, Esther and Joe’s son, took the reins of the family’s philanthropy in the early 1970s, he applied his considerable business experience and engineering training toward bringing a more business-like and disciplined approach to philanthropy. To promote neuroscience research, John and his brother Fred established the Klingenstein Fellowship Awards in Neuroscience in 1981. Now called the Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship Awards in Neuroscience, it has helped advance the work of many of the country’s finest neuroscientists.
John also led the effort to establish the Klingenstein Center at Teachers College, Columbia University in 1977, which offers leadership programs and degrees for independent schoolteachers and administrators. After John passed away in August 2018, his bequest to Teachers College permanently endowed the Klingenstein Center.
Andy Klingenstein now leads the EAJK Fund as its President. A lawyer by training, he has managed several of our foundations, and has advised both for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations for many years. Andy, his three siblings and their spouses, and mother Patricia Klingenstein serve as trustees. In 2018, the family welcomed to the Fund’s Board two members of the fourth generation and an outside trustee.