Photo: Tupungato/shutterstock

Photo: Tupungato/shutterstock

Midtown Equities is a privately held real estate development company that was created by the Cayre family to manage their real estate holdings. Those holdings have included the joint acquisition of the 99-year lease on the World Trade Center and a lot of recent activity in Brooklyn. For example, the company was entrusted to transform Empire Stores in Brooklyn Bridge Park into tech and artisan spaces, and to develop a Williamsburg waterfront property. Although the Cayre family has interests in other major U.S. cities and abroad, its philanthropy reflects its strong New York City roots.

To guide NYC grantseekers, here are the top things to know about Michael and Shirley Cayre’s grantmaking and the couple’s approach to foundation giving.

Wealth Rooted in Real Estate

As noted above, Michael and Shirley Cayre’s wealth largely comes from the real estate industry. Michael Cayre is the son of Joseph Cayre, who founded Midtown Equities. Michael has a hand in steering the family business and created his own family foundation with his wife Shirley in 2000.

According to recent tax records, Michael Cayre serves as the foundation’s president and Shirley Cayre as its vice president. Their foundation is headquartered in New York City.

The Couple Strongly Supports Jewish Causes

First and foremost, Michael and Shirley Cayre are funders of Jewish causes. Their interest in religious-affiliated groups extends locally, regionally and internationally too. The couple has recently supported a reform synagogue, multiple Jewish educational institutions, and Jewish organizations that work to strengthen Jewish family life.

The needs of Jewish children and youth are of particular interest to the Cayre couple. Beyond Jewish-specific needs, the Cayres have also shown their support for health and disease research, such as the cancer research of Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

The Cayres Accept Unsolicited Requests

Like many New York City real estate funders that are still active in business, the Cayres maintain a low profile with their giving. They have not created a website for their foundation.

However, recent tax records indicate that the couple is open to receiving unsolicited requests for grants. There are no application deadlines, nor are there restrictions or limitations on awards. Grantseekers are simply encouraged to submit general information about their charitable functions and may even contact the foundation by phone with questions or to make an introduction.

Read more about Michael and Shirley Cayre and how to they approach philanthropy in IP’s New York City and Tri-State Funding Guide and Real Estate Givers Guide.

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