Talks To The Streisand Foundation

24 October 2006

New Post Talks To The Streisand Foundation

I thought it would be an important time to talk to The Streisand Foundation. Here's a rare interview.

Special thanks Marge Tabankin, Marty Erlichman and Dick Guttman



Interview by Craig Hall (BarbraNews)

(Above: Marge Tabankin: Executive Director of The Streisand Foundation)

1.        Tell us why the foundation was started in 1986? What is your role?

The Foundation began 20 years ago shortly after the Chernobyl Nuclear disaster. Barbra was so affected by the repercussions of what had happened and was fearful about nuclear proliferation and the destruction of the environment that she held a fundraising concert at her home. The proceeds from the sales of the record, the television show and the VHS of the concert went toward the creation of the Streisand Foundation. I have been the executive director of the Foundation since 1987.

2.        Primarily, who and what does the foundation support?

When the Foundation began in 1986, the primary funding focus was nuclear disarmament, preservation of the environment and the protection of the civil rights and civil liberties of all people. We have now expanded our focus to include education, women’s issues, AIDS research and advocacy and voter participation. For example, in the area of environmental preservation we have funded the NRDC, Oceana, Environmental Working Group, Environmental Defense and Rainforest Action Network.
3.        Approx how much has the foundation given away to its causes? (I hope this isn't confidential -- if it is, skip the question).

No, this is public information that anyone can access. In addition to the 15 million dollars that Barbra has personally helped various organizations raise through performances, the Streisand Foundation has given away 16 million through its grant making. Most recently, she was the lead funder with a $1 million grant to the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation to support President Clinton’s new climate change initiative. The goal of this project is to bring major cities around the world together to combine their purchasing power and to actively cooperate in identifying and jump-starting programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

4.        Have you been with the foundation since the beginning?

Yes, I have known and worked with Barbra for 20 years.

5.        Tell us about your relationship (professional) to Barbra?

Barbra is an activist. She is engaged in public policy issues and is informed and knowledgeable about civic life. She is also a committed philanthropist who cares about giving back to the society that has given her so much. I research organizations that request funds and help find organizations that are working on issues that she is concerned about. After 20 years of working together and shared values, we have formed a close friendship.

6.        Barbra's good friends Richard Baskin, The Bergmans and even Barbra's son, Jason are board members. What does their role involve?

The board members of the Foundation meet to discuss the Foundation’s policies and giving priorities.

7.        If someone wanted to make a donation to the Foundation -- how would they do that?

Barbra has wonderful, generous fans who already have made contributions to the Foundation. If others are interested in doing so, they can send a check made out to The Streisand Foundation. All gifts to the Foundation are tax deductible.

The address is:
The Streisand Foundation
2800 28th St. #105
Santa Monica, CA 90405

8.        The proceeds from the One Voice concert in 1986 went to the foundation, along with profits from the VHS and forthcoming DVD release -- Are you hopeful to raise a significant amount from the DVD release?

Yes, we hope the DVD does well so that the Foundation will be able to reap the benefits of its success. We want fans to realize that their money is going to worthwhile, important causes. The Streisand Foundation has funded nearly 700 non-profit organizations in the last 20 years and we hope that we can continue this important work for many years to come.

9.        Barbra doesn't really issue press releases when a donation is made -- Why do you think this is?

Barbra’s commitment to philanthropy is not based upon receiving recognition and accolades. She is a philanthropist because she truly cares about the state of the world and working to help better it. Unless she has contributed to the launch of an important project or program that she feels would benefit from the publicity of a press release, she doesn’t feel the need to publicize her donations.

10.        Barbra's timeless shows were billed as farewell shows -- but fans are getting the chance to see her perform live again in the fall -- tell us a bit about where the designated proceeds will go to...

The primary reason Barbra decided to get back on stage and tour was because she felt there were so many causes that she wanted to continue to support. This tour will help raise a significant amount of money for them. A portion of the tour proceeds will go to the Streisand Foundation, which will then be distributed among various organizations working to solve important problems, specifically the environment/global warming, education and women’s health issues. And we have all of Barbra’s fans to thank for that!

(Above Picture: September 2006. Marge Tabankin (left), Barbra Streisand and Donna Karan attend the 2nd Annual Clinton Global Initiative.)


You can also see Interview Clips with Ms. Tabankin on the 2001 E! Special on Barbra Streisand.

Previous Interviews HERE

(Interviews include Jay Landers, Ann Hampton Callaway, Lauren Frost, Caleigh Peters)



Craig Hall -- -- 2006