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Who We Are

Since 1978, the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation has been a force in cultural philanthropy, medical research, and health care. Its vision, as Iris Cantor says, is “to support the body and the soul.”

The Cantor Foundation is recognized internationally for its commitment to the arts, for redefining clinical health care for women, and for supporting building and endowment programs that provide better facilities for hospitals and medical research and for cultural and educational institutions. The Foundation is an admired innovator – acknowledged for its insight, vision, and willingness to step up to meet a challenge. It is recognized for its transformative philanthropy and its commitment to truly making a difference.

Cultural Philanthropy

The Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation is renowned for sharing with the public its superb collection of works by artist Auguste Rodin.  B. Gerald Cantor (“Bernie”) was an ardent admirer of Rodin, who is considered the crucial bridge between tradition and modernism in sculpture at the beginning of the 20th century. With his wife, Iris Cantor, Bernie created the largest privately-held collection of works by this great French sculptor. Together, the Cantors guided the Foundation’s own collection of Rodin’s works and led it to share these artworks for the public’s enjoyment and education.

“It was a thrilling experience as I hadn’t seen any of his work since being in New York City over forty years ago… This letter is to thank your foundation very much for allowing those people who do not live in very large centers to see these wonderful works of art.”

Rodin sculpture at Rockefeller Center: New York City, 1998

For more than 35 years, the Cantor Foundation has made its superb Rodin collection – at one time more than 100 works in bronze and other mediums – available to the public through its popular traveling exhibition program. Exhibitions have visited museums and public galleries throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in South America, Australia, Japan, and Singapore. The exhibits have been in more than 200 institutions and have been seen by an audience of more than ten million people. Iris Cantor encourages the Foundation to enlarge on her husband’s vision by lending its Rodins to places even more public than museums. In 1998, for example, more than two million people saw highlights from the Foundation’s collection on the Plaza at Rockefeller Center.

The Cantor Foundation’s support for cultural facilities also takes the form of providing funding for brick-and-mortar building projects.  We have assisted cultural and educational institutions such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University, Brooklyn Museum of Art, College of the Holy Cross, Frank Sinatra School for the Arts, DeWitt Clinton High School, and Tisch School for the Arts at NYU.

The Foundation has been a particularly generous donor of works of art. Gifts from the Foundation’s collection have been presented to the North Carolina Museum of Art, Stanford University, National Gallery of Art, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Iowa State University Museum of Art, and many others. The Foundation has a notable history of supporting museum acquisitions, exhibitions, and public programs.

Medical Research and Health Care

Equally as important as its commitment to cultural activities is the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation’s support for medical research and health care institutions. Early on, Iris Cantor’s commitment to early diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer led the Foundation to fund at UCLA one of the country’s first mobile breast imaging centers; it brought mammography services to women in need throughout Southern California.

Iris Cantor is acknowledged for the transformative model of health care she developed for women. “One-stop shopping,” she calls it, noting “women are too busy to run around visiting different doctors, so the doctors should come to them.” Soon after sharing her vision with the health care leadership at UCLA, the Foundation funded the Iris Cantor-UCLA Women’s Health Center, a force for innovative clinical care, medical research, and physician and public education.

Building on this UCLA model, Iris Cantor and the Foundation founded the Iris Cantor Women’s Health Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Deeply invested in public, professional, and patient education, the institution also holds annual press briefings to educate members of the media about health care for women.

The Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation has a significant history of giving to build and/or endow new patient facilities at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the Strang Cancer Prevention Center, the Discovery Eye Foundation, and the UCLA Medical Center.

Since its founding, the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation has supported other medical activities, especially research into diabetes and its effects, including diseases of the eye.


Under Iris Cantor’s leadership, the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation has supported facilities, scholarships, and programs for students, providing major grants to the Fulfillment Fund, De Witt Clinton High School in Brooklyn, New York; Tisch School of the Arts at New York University; and the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Queens, New York.


The Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation accepts grant proposals only by invitation.

Inquiries may be e-mailed to Executive Director Judith Sobol at