Adrienne Arsht

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Adrienne Arsht
Adrienne Arsht New.jpg
Born (1942-02-04) February 4, 1942 (age 79)
EducationMount Holyoke College (BA)
Villanova University (JD)
OccupationFounding Chairman of the Adrienne Arsht Center Foundation, philanthropist, and Chairman Emerita of TotalBank
(m. 1980; died 2007)
WebsiteOfficial website

Adrienne Arsht (born February 4, 1942) is an American business leader and impact philanthropist. She is widely recognized for her $30 million contribution to Miami-Dade County's Performing Arts Center, now known as the Adrienne Arsht Center. She is on the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center.

Personal life and career[]

Arsht was born to a Jewish family[1][2] in Wilmington, Delaware; the daughter of Samuel Arsht, a Wilmington attorney, and Roxana Cannon Arsht, the first female judge in the State of Delaware.[3] Arsht skipped her senior year at Tower Hill School and went directly to Mount Holyoke College, where she received her bachelor's degree. She then attended the Villanova University School of Law for her J.D.[4] Upon graduation, Arsht became the eleventh woman admitted to the Delaware bar. Her mother was the fifth.[5] She was married to the late Myer Feldman (1914–2007), a former counsel to Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.[6]

Arsht began her Delaware law career in 1966 with the firm Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell. In 1969, she moved to New York City and joined the legal department of Trans World Airlines (TWA). She was the first woman to work in the airline industry's Property, Cargo and Government Relations departments. She moved to Washington, D.C. in 1979 where she initially worked with a law firm, then started her own title company before moving to Miami in 1996 to run her family-owned bank, TotalBank.[7]

From 1996 to 2007, Arsht served as Chairman of the Board of TotalBank. In that time, TotalBank grew from four locations to 14 with over $1.4 billion in assets.[8] In November 2007, she sold the bank to Banco Popular Español for $300 million[9] and was named Chairman Emerita of TotalBank.[10]

Philanthropic work[]

Arsht gave a $30 million contribution to Miami's Performing Arts Center in 2008. Subsequently, the former Carnival Center for the Performing Arts was renamed "The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County", or the Arsht Center for short.[11] She is Founding Chairman of the Adrienne Arsht Center Foundation.[12] In Miami, Arsht is also a member of the board and Trustee Emerita of the University of Miami,[13] as well as a board member for the non-profit organization, Amigos For Kids.[14] In January 2009, The Chronicle of Philanthropy ranked Arsht number 39 on its 2008 America's 50 biggest donors list.[15]

In 2004, Arsht became the first woman to join the Million Dollar Roundtable of United Way of Miami-Dade County.[16] In October 2008, Arsht committed more than $6 million to the University of Miami to support the university-wide Arsht Ethics Programs, assist the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami and support other University of Miami initiatives.[17]

In Washington, D.C., she serves on the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.[18] In 2013, she endowed the Adrienne Arsht Latin American Center at The Atlantic Council[19] to focus on the role of South America in the trans-Atlantic world. In 2009, Arsht co-funded the program “Arts in Crisis: A Kennedy Center Initiative,” which provided planning assistance and consulting services to struggling arts organizations throughout the United States.[20] She donated $5 million to establish the Adrienne Arsht Musical Theater Fund at the Kennedy Center to support a wide variety of musical theater productions.[21]

Arsht is Executive Vice Chairman of the Atlantic Council, and former Vice Chairman member of the board of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Arsht is a member of National Advisory Board of the Sandra Day O’Connor Institute for American Democracy and Blair House Restoration Fund.[22] She is a member of the Fine Arts Committee of the U.S. State Department, the Council on Foreign Relations,[23] and is former President of the Vice President's Residence Foundation.

In 2004, after the death of her parents, Arsht created the Arsht-Cannon Fund through the Delaware Community Foundation. Since its creation, the Arsht-Cannon Fund has given $4.5 million to non-profit organizations in Delaware, which have been specifically attributed to programs centered on the needs of Hispanic families.[24] In May 2010, under Arsht's direction, the fund pledged $300,000 over three years to bring the Nemours Foundation BrightStart! Dyslexia Initiative to Delaware. The program is aimed at improving the reading and writing skills of young children and identifying those with learning disabilities at an early age.[25]

In 2005, Arsht announced a $2 million gift to Goucher College in Maryland, creating the Roxana Cannon Arsht Center for Ethics and Leadership, in honor of her late mother, a Goucher graduate.[26]

In February 2009, Arsht funded the creation of the Best Buddies Delaware chapter to specifically serve Hispanics and African-Americans with mental disabilities.[27]

In October 2012 stage in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center was dedicated to Arsht for her $10 million contribution in support of the transformation of Lincoln Center's facilities and public spaces.[28]

In 2016, Arsht founded the Adrienne Arsht Center for Resilience at the Atlantic Council. The center's goal is advancing approaches that promote the abilities of nations, cities, communities, and individuals to respond effectively to disruptions, understand and manage complex interdependent systems, and thrive in today's global environment.

Arsht was the first woman to receive the Carnegie Hall Medal of Excellence in June, 2017. The award recognizes Ms. Arsht's philanthropy to cultural and nonprofit institutions throughout the United States, as well as leadership in the financial, public, and legal sectors. Arsht was the ninth recipient of the Medal of Excellence. Previous recipients have included Sanford I. Weill, Oscar de la Renta, Robert K. Kraft, Bill Cunningham, Henry T. Segerstrom, Terry J. Lundgren, Richard S. Fuld, Jr., and Kenneth D. Lewis.

In 2019, Arsht, who serves as executive vice-chair of the Atlantic Council, was awarded the Distinguished Service Award at the Atlantic Council's annual Distinguished Leadership Awards dinner for her philanthropic work. Arsht has committed $25 million to permanently endow the Adrienne Arsht Center for Resilience at the Atlantic Council. Partnered with a $30 million donation from the Rockefeller Foundation, the center will now be named the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center.

In August, 2020, Arsht donated $5 million to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City to fund the Museum’s first ever-paid internship program, which will now be named the Adrienne Arsht Interns. With Arsht’s gift, The Met is now the single largest art museum in the country to offer 100 percent paid internships to nearly 120 undergraduate and graduate interns each year. The transformative donation will also support MetliveArts providing programming focused on themes of resilience.

Arsht is a member of the National Advisory Board of the Sandra Day O’Connor Institute for American Democracy.

Arsht is on the Advisory Council of the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project (DCVLP) where she established the Roxana Cannon Arsht Law Fellowship in honor of her mother, which focuses on domestic violence and other urgent family matters.

Awards & Recognitions[]

In 2013, Arsht was presented with the prestigious diplomatic honor, Orden de Isabel la Católica (Order of the Cross of Isabella the Catholic) from The King of Spain.

In 2017, she was bestowed the Carnegie Hall Medal of Excellence recognizing her visionary and exceptional contributions to cultural and nonprofit institutions nationally.

Arsht was awarded the distinguished Order of San Carlos of Colombia, which was given to her by the direction of Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos.

In 2019, Arsht was awarded The Order of Rio Branco from the Brazilian government for her outstanding dedication to US-Brazil relations and her vision toward Latin America.

In April, 2021 Arsht was bestowed a Lifetime Achievement Award from the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

In May 2021, Arsht received an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Barry University, located in Miami, Florida.


  1. ^ Washington Post: "Adrienne Arsht has returned to Washington and is giving away millions" By Annie Groer October 20, 2011 | "Adrienne Arsht learned to give back, and to fight back, from her parents, whose American dream story still resonates with their daughter. Both were children of poor Russian Jewish emigres to Wilmington"
  2. ^ South Florida Opulence Magazine: "Adrienne Arsht - The Remarkable Woman Behind the Marquee Name" By Jana Soeldner Danger Archived 2016-02-01 at the Wayback Machine retrieved August 10, 2015 | "Her family was not wealthy while she was growing up, and they lived in a conservative community where Jewish families like hers were not allowed to buy property in some of the better neighborhoods"
  3. ^ Delaware Community Foundation Archived June 8, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Executive Advisory Board, Cuban-American CPAs Archived July 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Delaware Community Foundation Archived June 8, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Myer Feldman, 92, Adviser to President Kennedy, Dies," The New York Times
  7. ^ Executive Advisory Board, Cuban-American CPAs Archived July 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ BNET - The CBS Interactive Business Network
  9. ^ Bjork, Christopher (2007-07-11). "Spain's Banco Popular to buy U.S. TotalBank for $300 mln". MarketWatch. Archived from the original on 4 December 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-06.
  10. ^ Freer, Jim (2007-07-11). "TotalBank to be sold to Spanish bank". South Florida Business Journal. Retrieved 2015-03-23.
  11. ^ "Donation prompts Carnival Center renaming". South Florida Business Journal.
  12. ^ "Board Members, The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County".
  13. ^ Board of Trustees, University of Miami Archived 2015-03-21 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Who We Are - Amigos for Kids". Amigos for Kids. Archived from the original on 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2011-01-12.
  15. ^ "Who were the top U.S. philanthropists in 2008? Hint: One was from Sarasota". Creative Loafing Tampa. Archived from the original on 2009-02-02.
  16. ^ "Haute 100 Miami Update: Adrienne Arsht". Haute Living. July 28, 2010.
  17. ^ "Arsht Ethics Initiatives". University of Miami. Archived from the original on 2010-12-16. Retrieved 2011-01-12.
  18. ^ Kennedy Center Administration Our People: The Board of Trustees
  19. ^ Ross Feldman. "About the Center". Atlantic Council. Archived from the original on 2013-08-31. Retrieved 2013-08-29.
  20. ^ "Arts in Crisis: A Kennedy Center Initiative". Archived from the original on 2010-10-25. Retrieved 2011-01-12.
  21. ^ "Adrienne Arsht Gives Kennedy Center $5 Million for Musical Theater".
  22. ^ "Blair House - The President's Guest House".
  23. ^ "Membership Roster". Council on Foreign Relations. Archived from the original on 2014-07-27.
  24. ^ Dawn Fallik (October 2010). "The Biggest Philanthropist You've Never Heard Of". .
  25. ^ Nemours (11 May 2010). "Arsht-Cannon Fund Brings Nemours BrightStart! Dyslexia Initiative to Delaware". Disabled World.
  26. ^ "Goucher College: Goucher College Announces Arsht Presidential Diplomats". Towson, MD Patch. 2021-10-26. Retrieved 2021-11-30.
  27. ^ Best Buddies Delaware Archived July 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ Pogrebin, Robin (2015-03-23). "How David Geffen's $100 Million Lincoln Center Gift Came Together". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-11-30.

External links[]

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