Foundation Guide

A Tour of Our Global Community of Giving

 Shelby White

Shelby White

Early life and Career

Shelby White devoted herself to her husband Leon and their family. When he started the Jerome Levy Foundation in the 1950’s she was not only a supporter, but an active member of the foundation until Leon’s passing in 2013. White graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College and went on to earn her M.A. from prestigious Columbia University, New York. She fell in love with the study of antiquities and archeology while working for Encyclopedia Britannica, and together with Leon have donated generously to a number of projects in this field.



Shelby White had an extensive career as an author and well-respected financial journalist. She has been published in Forbes, Town and Country and The New York Times. In 1992 she published a book, ‘What Every Woman Should Know About Her Husband’s Money’.
She served on the board at Alliance Capital Money Market Funds, and has lectured at New York University, and City College of New York where she presented courses on philanthropy and museum studies.
Currently, White is the Chairman of the American Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority and is an active board member of New York University and Bard Graduate Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The New York Botanical Garden and the Institute for Advanced Study. She is an active acrcheologist, joining a dig in Isreal each year.


Philanthropy and Sponsorship

Shelby White was married to the financier and investor Leon Levy. Throughout his career and life, Levy was one of the best known philanthropists of his time, making philanthropy popular even before it became the domain of the world’s celebrity billionaires.

Shelby White and Leon Levy have been generous and active philanthropists for decades. Their shared love of archeology and preservation of antiquities inspired them to found the Shelby White and Leon Levy Program for Archaeological Publications at Harvard University. The project, started in 1997, supports the research on unpublished or terminated field work in a number of regions around the world. Over $13 million has been donated to the project. During Leon’s lifetime, the couple has donated over $200 million to various organizations and projects. Grants and donations include $20 million to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the creation of a visitor center at the New York Botanical Garden and donations to the Leon Levy Excavation in Israel. Shelby set up the Leon Levy Foundation in 2004 after the passing of Leon. She continues his legacy of philanthropy by supporting several organizations in diverse fields. The Leon Levy Foundation supports projects in the arts and humanities, science, with the Leon Levy Fellowship in Neuroscience, as well as several human rights projects and groups.