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A Family Foundation

Walter H. Annenberg, Ambassador to the United Kingdom, was a distinguished businessman who dedicated the last decades of his life to philanthropy and public service.

In 1989, he created the Annenberg Foundation, a notable family foundation that focused on grantmaking in the fields of art and education. He and his wife, Leonore, gave monumental gifts to the Metropolitan Museum of Art worth more than a billion dollars, which would come to be known as the Annenberg Collection, the largest single donation of art that the museum had received in more than 50 years. He also donated $500 million to public education via the Annenberg Challenge (the largest single gift ever given to public education at the time). In the realm of higher education, he established the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, and he donated $50 million to UNCF (the largest single contribution at the time ever given to support historically Black colleges).

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Ambassador Walter H. Annenberg, Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, circa 1989

Walter H. Annenberg, Ambassador to the United Kingdom, was a distinguished businessman who dedicated the last decades of his life to philanthropy and public service.

In 1989, he created the Annenberg Foundation, a notable family foundation that focused on grantmaking in the fields of art and education. He and his wife, Leonore, gave monumental gifts to the Metropolitan Museum of Art worth more than a billion dollars, which would come to be known as the Annenberg Collection, the largest single donation of art that the museum had received in more than 50 years. He also donated $500 million to public education via the Annenberg Challenge (the largest single gift ever given to public education at the time). In the realm of higher education, he established the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, and he donated $50 million to UNCF (the largest single contribution at the time ever given to support historically Black colleges).

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Wallis Annenberg and Walter H. Annenberg, Winfield House in London, circa 1971

Through the Annenberg Foundation, one of the ambassador's grandchildren, Gregory Annenberg Weingarten, issued his first grant in the early 1990s, and Gregory continued his philanthropic giving with the guidance of his grandfather until Walter's death. In 2008, the Annenberg Foundation moved its Philadelphia headquarters to Los Angeles. Today, the foundation is led by Walter's daughter, Chairman/CEO/President Wallis Annenberg, with Gregory and his siblings, Lauren Bon and Charles Annenberg Weingarten, serving as vice presidents and directors.

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Gregory Annenberg Weingarten, Lauren Bon, Wallis Annenberg, and Charles Annenberg Weingarten, 2022
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Gregory Annenberg Weingarten and Regina Weingarten, London, 2023

Gregory's philanthropy over the years has been broad and inclusive, supporting a range of innovative projects and organizations that address social and cultural issues, meet urgent community needs, and offer inspiration and collaboration — all with the goal of improving the quality of life in communities around the world. In 2011, he formalized his grantmaking as GRoW @ Annenberg, a philanthropic initiative at the Annenberg Foundation. GRoW is a play on the initials of Gregory and Regina Weingarten, his wife and philanthropic partner. Under Gregory's direction, GRoW has facilitated the repatriation of sacred Native American objects, supported teachers in remote areas of Peru, built health care centers in Bangladesh, helped to create school safety programs in the Los Angeles community of Watts, and funded museums, opera companies, jazz orchestras, and student scholarships across the U.S. and Europe.