Marjery Tabankin

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Margery Tabankin

Margery Tabankin is on the Arca Foundation Board of Directors. She also serves on the board of the Institute for America's Future.

Currently, Margery Tabankin is the Executive Director of both Steven Spielberg's Righteous Persons Foundation and The Streisand Foundation[1].

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.

Tabankin is affiliated with Tabankin & Associates.

Tabankin serves on the People for the American Way's Board of Directors as well on the People for the American Way Foundation's Board of Directors.[2]

She is married to Tom Asher.


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[3].


Marjery Tabankin was a University of Wisconsin activist from 1965 to 1969. She joined Students for a Democratic Society and helped coordinate the 1969 Moratorium[4].

Tabankin has met with Fidel Castro and Yasser Arafat[5].

Alinsky student

After college, Tabankin became one of the first women trainees at Saul Alinsky's Industrial Areas Foundation 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[6].


In 1971, Tabankin became the first woman president of the National Student Association[7].

In that capacity she accepted an in invitation in the Spring of 1972 to visit Hanoi[8].

Youth project

In 1972 Tabankin became executive director of the privately funded, Washington DC based Youth Project[9].


Tabankin 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[10].


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"[11].

Women's political activism

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[12].

DSA potential donors list

On January 21, 1992 Steve Tarzynski, National Political Committee of Democratic Socialists of America, wrote a letter to "Harold" (probably Harold Meyerson).

"Following is the list of possible major donors I can think of to pledge support for Trish and our program in southern California. Additions and comments sorely needed."

Question marks in original list.[13]

Los Angeles DSA potential donors list

On July 26 1992 California Democratic Socialists of America leader Steve Tarzynski wrote a draft "major donor letter" for Southern California DSA, inviting donors to join the Upton Sinclair Club of DSA[14]

We know you have been generous in supporting DSA's important work in the past. We'd like to develop a core of at least twelve people who will pledge 1,000 annually to keep our Organization working for Southern California DSA. We invite you to be one of those people. This select group of members and friends would have a key role in rebuilding a democratic left opposition in California.
This unique group of individuals would form the "Upton Sinclair Club" which will act in an advisory role meeting with the Southern California DSA leadership at an annual brunch. Sinclair Club members will receive a quarterly bulletin reporting on Southern California DSA's progress, and will have an opportunity to meet international DSA spokespeople and international guest speakers in more intimate small group settings. Admission to all local, statewide, and national DSA events in the Southern California would be complimentary with membership in the Sinclair Club.

The draft was accompanied by a "List of Potential major donors to DSA"

Tabankin soiree

In February 1995, a private party was held in New York to celebrate Margery Tabankin who had been recently chosen to head Steven Spielberg's Righteous Person's Foundation, (Tabankin also ran the Streisand Foundation). Attendees included Jesse Jackson, Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman, Streisand publicist Ken Sunshine, Rev. Al Sharpton, Ruth Messinger, Charles Schumer, Mark Green, Basil Paterson, David Paterson, David Dinkins, New York Urban League President Dennis Walcott, and Warner Records chairman Danny Goldberg. The taslk focused on how "liberals could take the political spotlight back from the conservatives"[15]


Tabankin has produced two documentary films. Heartstrings: Peter Paul & Mary in Central America, 1984 and Village by Village a students journey to Vietnam, 1972[16].

Liberty Hill Foundation

As at 2009, Margery Tabankin was a member of the Advisory Board of the Liberty Hill Foundation, a Los Angeles based organization seeking to advance movements for social change through a combination of grants, leadership training and alliance-building.[17]

External links



  2. Board of Directors
  4. Long time passing: Vietnam and the haunted generation By Myra MacPherson, page 467
  8. Ocala Star-Banner - Aug 20, 1978
  9. Ocala Star-Banner - Aug 20, 1978
  13. January 21, 1992 Steve Tarzynski, letter to "Harold", Tarzynski papers Southern California for Social Change
  14. Steve Tarzynski DSA major donor letter draft July 26, 1992, Tarzynski papers, Southern California Library for Social Change
  15. [Barbra and Jesse split an egg roll. New York Magazine 20 Feb 1995 page 13]
  17. Liberty Hill website: Advisory Board