The Rothschild family has a long history of active philanthropy. David Rothschild and his sister, Ellen Dame, are managing board members of the family’s foundations, which are dedicated to supporting causes that make the world a better place. The family has a deep commitment to addressing the root causes of all forms of inequality, and focuses on organizations that support educational opportunities, community well-being, and the arts.
The foundations are also actively seeking additional beneficiaries that use evidence-based innovative approaches to address broader issues facing society, including environmental, healthcare, and sustainability challenges. Additionally, the board is researching organizations that foster critical thinking to mitigate the conflation of opinion-based and evidence-based decision-making.
Ellen sits on the board of the Baltimore Museum of Art and is active at several other organizations. David sits on the board of directors for Central Scholarship and has been instrumental in encouraging an expansion of its support for vocational training which dates to its founding in 1924. (David’s great-great uncle Moses Rothschild and his great grandfather Solomon were among Central Scholarship’s founding members.) David also sits on the board of trustees of McDonogh School, focusing on financial aid and scholarships to provide broader access to its high-quality PK-12 education.
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Four Generations of Giving
Moses Rothschild was born in Erksdorf, Germany, on July 17, 1863. When he was eighteen years old, after an ocean voyage of twelve days, he landed on American shores in 1882. The youngest of ten children, Moses joined his brothers and sisters already in the U.S. He became interested in life insurance because he wanted his life’s work to be of some help to others. In 1890, he founded the Sun Life Insurance Company of America. Moses was always interested in youth and served on the executive board of many community agencies. In 1924, with excess legacy funds from a Jewish orphanage of which he was President, he established the Central Scholarship Bureau.
Marie L. Rothschild, niece of Moses, continued the family legacy by committing her life to helping others. In the 1930s, she opened her home to relatives and others who were refugees from Nazi Germany. She served on fund-raising committees for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and headed several programs for the Red Cross, including a World War II blood drive in which she was instrumental in integrating the blood-collection program. Her husband, Stanford Z. Rothschild, was chairman of the board of the Sun Life Insurance Co. of America.
Marie held many posts in the Associated Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore and she was a supporter of Central Scholarship. She was the first woman to serve on the board of Sinai Hospital and was active in the Baltimore Regional Chapter of the American Red Cross and other groups. Her son, Stanford Z. Rothschild Jr., continued to support Central Scholarship in recent decades.
Marie’s grandson, David Rothschild, sits on the board of directors at Central Scholarship today. He says, “My grandma was a primary inspiration for our interest in making the world a better place. She made it clear that when you are privileged enough to not have to worry about providing for yourself or your family, there is a fundamental responsibility to try to make things better for other people. It is a lesson she brought to us from her ancestors.
My grandmother was the most loving, engaging, and joyous person in our family. The real secret is that she taught our family that one of the greatest joys in life is being generous and working to make the world better for others. The pleasure of doing this work is the reason to work hard. The real reason to focus on giving back is that’s it’s not remotely a sacrifice, it’s just fun.”
Today, fourth-generation philanthropists, brother and sister, Ellen Dame and David Rothschild support Central Scholarship in its 92nd year.