EDWARD AND SHARI GLAZER, CREDIT: PETER MARINO
A son of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants, the late Malcolm Glazer built a real estate and sports fortune as president of First Allied Corporation. He owned both the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Premier League’s Manchester United in England. In 2015, Forbes listed Glazer family net worth at $4.7 billion, shared amongst Malcolm’s widow Linda and the couple’s six children.
Son Edward Glazer now serves as owner and co-chairman of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’s also co-president of the Glazer Family Foundation, which supports children’s health and education programs in the Tampa Bay area. Once based in Florida, Edward and his wife Shari now live in Los Angeles, a site of escalating philanthropy. The couple recently launched the Edward and Shari Glazer Charitable Trust, which focuses on educational, medical, and arts causes in the L.A. area.
“I’m from L.A., I grew up here. Lived away for a while. I met my husband in D.C., and then we lived in Florida. We moved back to L.A. about 20 years ago,” Shari Glazer told me in a recent interview. Like many philanthropic stories, geography and timing have played a role in this wealthy family’s giving. And through their newly-minted Glazer Charitable Trust, the couple aims to deepen their giving in their local community.
As Always, It’s Personal
There’s an old saying that “if you’ve seen one foundation, you’ve seen one foundation.” It speaks to how every funder is different, motivated by their own unique constellation of causes. Glazer explains that her family’s giving is broken up into a few key areas, all of which have personal significance. One area is education and entrepreneurship. Edward and his father’s entrepreneurial background has already been covered, but Shari says that her own mother instilled in her the value of entrepreneurship, as well. In 2019, Shari joined the board of trustees of Marlborough School, an all-girls’ school which her three teenage daughters attend.
In 2018, the Glazers helped launch the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Marlborough, which Shari calls a huge passion project. “We’re lucky enough to have the L.A. Director of Google Education involved, a team from Youtube… and we built this incredible state-of-the-art facility.” Glazer describes the comprehensive center, with classes that teach entrepreneurial skills, a store where students can launch their small businesses, and a presentation space for pitching.
Glazer herself launched a business, and with three daughters, count her as another philanthropist interested in empowering a new generation of young female entrepreneurs. “It’s been a great experience and a great success,” she says.
The Edward and Shari Glazer Charitable Trust also supports medical causes, particularly related to children’s health. Shari had open-heart surgery to treat a condition when she was young, and Edward dealt with childhood cancer. “We have a real passion and soft spot for kids who are going through medical issues,” she says.
The couple has worked with local hospitals like Cedars-Sinai Hospital, the UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. At Cedars’ Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, they support an iPad program so that parents can better communicate with doctors. The Glazers also have an interest in camps for ill children, supporting Painted Turtle and Camp Wonder, a camp for kids with severe skin disorders.
Drawn out of an earlier effort in Tampa, the Glazers also founded the “B.F.F. Bear Program” which gives away thousands of free teddy bears annually to pediatric patients. “Kids get a teddy bear with scrubs where they can write their names. It’s a simple thing, but it gives kids a sense of comfort and calm. It makes us very happy and has been a great success,” Shari explains.
Getting Involved in L.A. Arts Philanthropy
Shari drives a third family grantmaking interest—the arts. Growing up in Southern California, she recalls visiting local art museums on school trips. She was particularly taken by what is now known as Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Downtown Los Angeles. When the family returned to Los Angeles, Glazer became involved with leadership at MOCA, particularly focused on MOCA education on the board. She’s supported, for instance, a program called Contemporary Art Start, where Title 1 kids come to the museum. “They didn’t have money for buses so we fund the buses. There are a range of angles to our arts giving but education in the arts matters too,” she tells me.
Like other philanthropic families we profile, the Glazers’ teenage daughters are already involved with family giving. They’ve helped fundraise for the buses for Contemporary Arts Start and also have done things with UNICEF. “It’s important for them to give back and understand we live in a bigger community… It’s a part of their lives now too and I think they’ll continue with that,” Glazer says.
Down the line, she tells me that she hopes her family’s work through Edward and Shari Glazer Charitable Trust will continue to scale up, with a continued strong focus on her native City of Angeles: “I hope that we will be able to do bigger and even more impactful programs to benefit underserved communities in terms of the arts especially… We have more things in the works here.”