Jewish billionaire, Mets owner Steven Cohen: Major league philanthropist

No. 34 on The Jerusalem Post's Top 50 Most Influential Jews of 2022: US billionaire, philanthropist and New York Mets owner Steven Cohen.

 Jewish billionaire, philanthropist and Mets owner Steven Cohen. (photo credit: BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)
Jewish billionaire, philanthropist and Mets owner Steven Cohen.
(photo credit: BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)

As the owner of the New York Mets, an art collector and seasoned philanthropist, Steven Cohen has a finger in a lot of different pies, and each of those pies has an alluring aroma.

Born in 1956, Cohen found his start as a stock market trader at age 22, after graduating with an economics degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. As a junior trader for Gruntal & Co., Cohen began a decades-long career in the trading business, earning millions of dollars for the company and eventually becoming the manager of a $75 million (NIS 253 m.) portfolio.

In 1984, he was in charge of a Gruntal & Co. trading group, which he managed until 1992, when he started his own hedge fund trading company, S.A.C. Capital Advisors. He ran it until several executives within the company were found guilty of insider trading in 2013. Cohen evaded indictment, eventually going on to convert S.A.C. Capital Advisors into Point72 Ventures in 2014, a hedge fund that focuses on early-stage investments.

In 2020, Cohen closed a deal to become the majority holder of the New York Mets, a position that he is expected to hold for the foreseeable future, given his enormous wealth. By Bloomberg’s estimation, Cohen has a $12.1 billion (NIS 40.8 b.) net worth.

Though he’s definitely put a large amount of money toward his personal interests – a Major League baseball team, various political campaigns and a $1 billion (NIS 2.4 b.) art collection – Cohen has also contributed significantly to a number of charitable causes.

Citi Field baseball stadium in New York, home field of the New York Mets (credit: LUCAS JACKSON / REUTERS)Citi Field baseball stadium in New York, home field of the New York Mets (credit: LUCAS JACKSON / REUTERS)

Contributing to charity

Over the course of his life, Cohen has donated over $715 million (NIS 40.8 b.) to charitable causes, such as the creation of the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, which has provided funding to the study of post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and Lyme disease research, as well as several museums, such as New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Cohen is responsible for founding the Cohen Veterans Network, a not-for-profit organization providing mental health care to post-9/11 veterans and their families. He also serves on the board of trustees of the Robin Hood Foundation, a New York-based charity devoted to combating poverty in the state’s best-known city.