If you have ever shopped at a Gristedes in New York, then you are already familiar with the work of John and Margo Catsimatidis. The Gristedes chain of local supermarkets has been feeding New Yorkers since 1888. It is now owned by John Catsimatidis, a Greek immigrant who grew up in Harlem and has a long history in the grocery industry. His Red Apple Group owns and works in the energy, real estate, finance, and insurance industries as well.
To help grantseekers in New York City get up to speed with this couple’s giving, here are four key points about the John and Margo Catsimatidis Foundation.
Focus on the Greek and Russian Communities
As a Greek immigrant, John Catsimatidis continues to be influential in the Greek-American community and frequently gives to Greek-related causes. For example, John and Margo have contributed significantly to the Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund, which awards scholarships to students with Greek-American heritage. Margo Catsimatidis has a Russian background, and the couple supports Russian-related causes as well, such as the Russian Heritage Foundation.
Other Foundation Interests
In addition to Greek and Russian causes, the Catsimatidis couple has several other philanthropic interests. Through their foundation, they often support youth and education with grants to groups like the Boy Scouts and Outward Bound. The couple’s health-related giving is largely centered on diseases and well-established medical institutions, such as the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation and Columbia University Medical Center. Over the years, the couple has also shown its support for local law enforcement groups and organizations that support the needs of veterans.
Many Grants Stay in New York City
New York City is a special place to the Catsimatidis couple, and much of their grantmaking stays close to home. John Catsimatidis grew up in New York and studied engineering at New York University’s Bronx campus. Margo Catsimatidis moved from Indiana to New York City to dance with the Bolshoi Ballet company. It was in the city that she met John and started MCV Advertising Associates, one of the top print advertising companies in New York.
Meanwhile, the couple’s children have pursued their education at New York University Stern School of Business and Loyola School in New York City. All of these family connections translate to sizable annual giving to New York-based organizations, including New York’s Police Athletic League and the New York State Trooper Foundation.
Unsolicited Grant Requests are Unwelcome
Unfortunately for New York grantseekers, the Catsimatidis Foundation is not open to unsolicited requests. The foundation does not have a full website—only a page dedicated to philanthropy that highlights past grantees on the general Catsimatidis website. According to recent tax filings, the foundation only makes contributions to pre-selected charitable organizations and does not make its grantmaking guidelines publicly available. It is very much a family affair, with John Catsimatidis serving as president, Margo Catsimatidis as treasurer and no full-time professional staff.