John Studzinski

John Studzinski’s view on philanthropy

“For me, the key to philanthropy is the three T’s: time, talent and treasure. So much of philanthropy is thought of in terms of treasure, i.e. money, but the real success of Genesis is embracing talent, nurturing that talent, working as a team with our partners and creating a network that continually supports every artist the foundation has worked with.”

“I believe that if you impact one person that has a domino effect on others as that one person influences more people, who in turn influence others. The Genesis Foundation has supported over 1,000 artists from many genres and backgrounds who’ve gone on to have careers and impact on many further thousands of artists.”

“You have to develop philanthropy with people you trust and like and respect”

“The cornerstone of culture is not about entertainment or particular performances but nurturing culture, education and creating a cultural legacy.”

“It’s unthinkable for me not to give, it would be like cutting off a leg. It gives me an enormous amount of pleasure to support other people’s sense of dignity and their confidence in their artistic talent, to follow the narrative of what artists do.”

“Your best asset is your philanthropy, so don’t forget it.”

“Art is the cornerstone of all civilisations, from transforming lives to building confidence and self-esteem to creating employment.”

“Give is a funny word, I prefer the word share. Philanthropy is about sharing time, talent and money.”

“Everyone should give at whatever level they can afford. It’s good for you as it’s like paying dues for enjoying our culture, but you also learn a huge amount and you get a huge amount more than you give as you learn so much about your own values. Giving enhances your inner sense of self-worth as we all need constantly to access what our role is in life. It all creates a life well-spent.”

“I love the old Puritan saying that’s also quoted on Melville’s tomb: you have what you gave; you had what you spent; you lost what you kept.”

“The arts are not about entertainment. We don’t just record something to entertain people. I’m more interested in commissioning sacred music and sacred art because [they make] a broader statement about our time. Music is a powerful vehicle and a sign we’re shifting from an age of materialism to an age of spirituality.”

“The nurturing, mentoring and creation of networks for young artists was a specific goal when the Foundation was formed in 2001, since which time it has devoted more than £10m to opening opportunities to exceptional young artists from diverse backgrounds, setting them firmly on the path to fulfilling their creative and professional potential.”

John Studzinski is Vice Chairman, Investor Relations and Business Development and a Senior Managing Director of Blackstone where he holds special responsibility for a number of sovereign and international institutional relationships, as well as ultra high-net-worth families outside the United States.

Mr. Studzinski joined Blackstone in 2006 as Global Head of Blackstone Advisory Partners, which he ran for nearly a decade.

A graduate of Bowdoin College, Mr. Studzinski also has an MBA from the University of Chicago. He joined Morgan Stanley in New York in 1980 and since then has spent much of his career in London, where he served as Head of European Investment Banking and Deputy Chairman of Morgan Stanley International before moving to HSBC in 2003 as a member of the Group Management Board and Co-Head of the Investment Banking Division. In 2007 he was voted Banker of the Year by The Bank of England.

In November 2014, at St. James’s Palace in London, Mr. Studzinski received the Prince of Wales Medal for Arts Philanthropy, which complements the Prince of Wales Ambassador Award that in 2000 recognized his philanthropic work with the homeless. Since 2001 he has been Chairman of the Genesis Foundation, a UK-based charitable foundation he established; through partner programmes it enables organisations in the fields of theatre, music and visual arts to nurture the careers of outstanding young artists, developing their talents and giving them access to influential mentors and valuable networks.  

In the field of the arts he is also Chairman of Create London, which connects artists with communities through an ambitious project programme, and is a driving force of the Tate Foundation, which raises and invests money for the Board of Trustees of the Tate Gallery. In 2015 he was elected onto the board of trustees of the J. Paul Getty Trust, the world’s largest cultural and philanthropic organisation dedicated to the visual arts.

Also Vice Chair of Human Rights Watch and President of the American Friends of The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry – which focuses on challenges facing young people, members of the armed forces, and conservation – he serves on the boards of directors of a number of organisations, including: in the US, Bowdoin College and the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies; in the UK, The Passage Day Centre, American Patrons of Tate, The Royal Parks Foundation and The Royal College of Art. In addition, he is Chairman of The Benjamin Franklin House Museum in London and a member of The Atlantic Council, The Council on Foreign Relations and The Peterson Institute.

John Studzinski holds the Papal honours of Knight of the Order of St. Gregory and Knight Commander of Saint Sylvester and in 2004 was awarded the Beacon Prize for Philanthropy. In 2008, the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List named him Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for services to the Arts and Charity.

Read an interview with John Studzinski in The Independent.