Food Bank Receives $500,000 donation for new facility
Blackstone co-founder Stephen Schwarzman has spent much of his time since the pandemic took hold working out of his Palm Beach home rather than the hedge fund’s Manhattan headquarters. While the sunnier setting is more copacetic for him, his presence has proved fortuitous for his struggling neighbors across the Intracoastal Waterway, where the Palm Beach County Food Bank just received a $500,000 gift to complete a major expansion.
The donation capped the nonprofit’s $3 million “Grow with Us” capital campaign, enabling it to move from Lantana to a new warehouse and distribution facility in Lake Worth next month, doubling its capacity to distribute food through other nonprofits.
“Last year we were offered resources for distribution which we couldn’t accept because we were limited by our existing infrastructure. This new warehouse space ensures we will be able to feed many more of our hungry neighbors,” said Jim Greco, interim CEO of the Food Bank.
The 28,000-square-foot facility at 701 Boutwell Road has 30-foot-high ceilings, allowing more room to stack pallets for more efficient storage and distribution.
Schwarzman said he and his wife, Christine, were honored to support the Food Bank. “The COVID crisis has put a greater spotlight on the issue of food insecurity across the country and I’m pleased that this gift will help Jim and his team double their capacity to support local families in need,” he said.
Forbes lists Schwarzman’s personal fortune at $22.6 billion, including a South Ocean Drive home assessed at $33.6 million. Palm Beach business recruiters have had their eye on him and other financial services leaders with Palm Beach winter homes for years, hoping to lure them to open corporate offices in downtown West Palm Beach.
They’re seeing some progress but despite the harshness of Northeastern weather and state income taxes and the allure of waterfront or fairway-side mansions here, it has proven more a challenge than some might have hoped. A spokesman for Schwarzman said Saturday that Blackstone just leased a small office in South Florida – but in Miami, where it hopes to recruit tech talent.
The nonprofits Palm Beach County Food Bank assists include:
Food Recovery & Distribution, which provides more than 100 agencies with more than 5 million pounds of food that is distributed to close to 100,000 needy residents.
Lois’s Food4Kids, which provides 2,500 children with weekly backpacks of healthy food during the summer months (the equivalent of 145,000 meals).
The Marjorie S. Fisher Nutrition Driven, an educational mobile food pantry partnership with the University of Florida, which graduates 700 residents a year.
Benefits Outreach, which helps more than 2,100 eligible residents secure federal food assistance benefits valued at close to $3 million annually.
About Stephen Schwarzman:
Schwarzman is chairman, CEO and co-founder of Blackstone, an alternative investment management company with $619 billion of assets under management as of Dec. 31. He’s a member of The Council on Foreign Relations, The Business Council, The Business Roundtable and The International Business Council of the World Economic Forum.
His philanthropy leans toward education, culture and the arts. He donated $191 million to the University of Oxford to create a Centre for the Humanities in 2019; $350 million to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2018 for a computing center; and $150 million to his alma mater, Yale University, in 2015, for a student life hub.
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