The importance of the Wexner Foundation for the Midwest region

As we have seen, the American Midwest has one of the most important Jewish communities worldwide, having greatest companies and organizations. These businesses are considered significant promoters for social development and the founders of multiple social programs. In addition, these firms have created amazing foundations, which help the community not only in the United States and the Midwest region but also in other countries and cities around the world.

One of the most imperative businessmen in the Midwest is Leslie Wexner, the founder of the giant corporation L Brands. It owns remarkable companies like Victoria’s Secret, Pink, Bath & Body Works or La Senza, reaching net incomes for more than $900 million dollars per year and employing more than 95.000 workers in the entire planet.

Wexner was born in 1937 in Dayton, Ohio and for more than 20 years, has been the CEO of L Brands. During his time as the head of this giant business, Leslie has been an important philanthropist, working a lot for the American Midwest and Israeli community, creating and designing multiple social programs for them. For this extraordinary purpose, Leslie founded the Wexner Foundation, a philanthropic organization supported and funded by L Brands.

Related: Top 5 Giving Foundations in Illinois by Yosef Meystel


Image courtesy of Wexner Center at

The Wexner Foundation

This organization was founded in the early 1980’s with the main purpose of creating good leaders for society, especially for the Jewish community. This significant idea was proposed by Wexner, due to the need that Israel and the Jewish people had for strong leaders. In other words, this Institution was formed with the principal commitment of creating, promoting, forming and strengthen Jewish and Israeli leaders.

At the beginning, the Wexner Foundation was divided into two different organizations; the Wexner Heritage Foundation and the Wexner Foundation. The first one was focused on the creation and development of volunteer leaders, while the second one was dedicated to the promotion of emerging Jewish professional and public leaders through two different institutions; the Wexner Graduate Fellowship and the Wexner Israel Fellowship. Almost 20 years later, the Wexner Heritage Foundation and the Wexner Foundation merged, giving origin to what is known today as the Wexner Foundation.

Currently, the organization has its headquarters in New Albany, Ohio, and offices in New York City and Jerusalem, Israel. Through its history, the Wexner Foundation has supported other philanthropist institutions and initiatives both in Ohio, the United States and Israel.

Supported foundations

In Ohio, the Wexner Foundation has promoted programs like the Columbus Jewish Federation, the Columbus Jewish Foundation, Wexner Jewish Student Center of Ohio State University, the Wexner Heritage Village, the Columbus Torah Academy, the Columbus Jewish Day School, the Leo Yassenoff Jewish Community Center, the United Way of America campaign, the Wexner Institute for Pediatric Research at Children’s Hospital, the Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio State University, the Foundation for Jewish Camp.

In the United States, the institution has supported organizations like the Birthright Israel

Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education, the Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, the Jewish Education Service of North America, the all major rabbinical seminaries, the Brandeis University and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

For Israel, the Foundation has worked with some philanthropist organization, like the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv University.


Image courtesy of Wexner Center at


Wexner Graduate Fellowship

The main purpose of this program is to stimulate the development of Jewish professional leaders, giving financial and educational support for those recently graduated in multiple industry fields. By this program, the students are formed under the Jewish values and traditions, letting them promote the Jewish philosophy through their leadership.

The Wexner Graduate Fellowship has two main programs; the Wexner Graduate Fellowship / Davidson Scholars Program and the Wexner Field Fellowship. The first one gives every year 20 scholarships in multiple fields with leadership basis. The second program seeks for the improvement of leadership skills that graduated must develop, besides, it lets them establish connections with other leaders and students.

The Wexner Heritage Program

This essential program has a very stunning purpose; to promote the Jewish volunteer leaders so they can apply all their knowledge and expertise to the Jewish community, both in the United States and Israel. Put differently, this branch pursues the creation of leaders who voluntarily want to work for the society, helping and supporting them with their knowledge.

The Wexner Israel Programs

The Wexner Israel Program does emphases in the formation of leaders for the public services in Israel. This initiative seeks to strengthen the skills and abilities of those leaders who work in public areas. The Wexner Israel Program has alliances with the Israeli Government and Harvard University, which helps participants to expand their vision about leadership and the society needs. This is a monthly program dictated annually, both in Israel and the United States, which let applicants establish important connections with Jewish members in both countries.