Investing in Media That Matters - Speakers



Margery Tabankin

Currently, Margery Tabankin is the Executive Director of both Steven Spielberg's Righteous Persons Foundation and The Streisand Foundation. Established in 1994 with Spielberg's profits from Schindler's List, the Righteous Persons Foundation has made over $60 million in grants to projects which strengthen and reinvigorate Jewish life in the United States. Tabankin has directed The Streisand Foundation since 1986. To date, the Foundation has allocated nearly $13 million to organizations concerned with the environment, women, children, civil rights and AIDS programs.

From 1988 to 1994 Tabankin served as the Executive Director of the Hollywood Women's Political Committee (HWPC). During this time she helped establish an extremely effective and powerful women's political organization, raising over $5 million for progressive candidates. She also organized the entertainment industry on issues of women's reproductive health, support for the arts, and human rights around the world. It was during her tenure at the HWPC that Tabankin took a sabbatical to serve as a Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

From 1981 to 1988 Tabankin was the Executive Director of the Arca Foundation in Washington, D.C. , a fund dedicated to supporting economic and policy issues related to equity, civil rights, the environment and human rights. Previously, Tabankin had served as Director of Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) under President Carter from 1977-1981. At the time, she was the youngest woman appointed to head a federal program.

Tabankin began her activist career at age 19, while a student at the University of Wisconsin, where she was deeply involved in anti-Vietnam War and civil rights activities. After college, Tabankin became one of the first women trainees at Saul Alinsky's Institute for community organizers in Chicago, Illinois. She went on to Washington, D.C. to work on the Youth Citizenship Fund's campaign to pass a Constitutional amendment to lower the voting age to 18. Soon after, Tabankin became the first woman president of the National Student Association.

Tabankin received a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin in 1969. In 1997, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Farleigh Dickinson University.

She currently sits on the Board of Directors of several philanthropic foundations and non-profit organizations.

Tabankin produced two documentary films. Heartstrings: Peter Paul & Mary in Central America, 1984 and Village by Village a students journey to Vietnam, 1972.