Officers & Staff

In accordance with the wishes of its founder, the Leon Levy Foundation maintains a small Board of Trustees and operating staff, to ensure focus on and efficiency in grant making.


Shelby White, Trustee

Shelby White serves on the boards of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Institute for Advanced Study, The New York Botanical Garden, New York University, Bard Graduate Center, and The Writers Room.  She is president of the American Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority.  She also serves as chairman of the Shelby White and Leon Levy Program for Archaeological Publications at Harvard University.  Ms. White is the Founder of the Institute of the Study for the Ancient World (ISAW), New York University.

Ms. White’s financial articles have appeared in leading American publications including The New York Times, Town and Country, Redbook and Forbes. Her book, “What Every Woman Should Know About Her Husband’s Money,” was published by Random House (1992, 1994). She has taught seminar courses on philanthropy at New York University and museum studies at City College of New York and written articles about both philanthropy and art collecting.

Ms. White has appeared on television programs, including Good Morning America, Sonya Live, Bill Buckley’s Firing Line, and The Today Show. She received her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and an M.A. from Columbia University.

Shelby White has been listed as one of the country’s top philanthropists in Business Week’s Annual Review of Top Giver’s and on The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list of America’s most generous givers in 2007.

Elizabeth B. Moynihan, Trustee

Ms. Moynihan is an architectural historian who became friendly with Leon Levy in 1980, when they were on an archaeological trip to Jordan.

In 1973, while living in India, Ms. Moynihan authored a survey of surviving Moghul gardens, which was published in 1979 “Paradise as a Garden in Persia and Moghul India.” She also served for many years on the Indo-U.S. Sub-Commission on Education and Culture while continuing her research on Babur, the founder of the Moghul dynasty. In the process, she located and documented four previously unknown 16th century gardens built by Babur.

In 1991, she was nominated by Leon Levy and elected to serve as an independent director of the Oppenheimer Funds, of which he was founder and chairman.

In 1996, Ms. Moynihan directed a joint project for the Archaeological Survey of India and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, and edited the report published in 2000 as “The Moonlight Garden, New Discoveries at the Taj Mahal.”

A long-time board member of the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and the Sackler Gallery, Ms. Moynihan has also served as a trustee of the National Building Museum, the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection of Harvard University, and the Preservation League of New York State, among other educational and cultural institutions.

Married to Daniel Patrick Moynihan for 48 years, Ms. Moynihan also managed three of his four campaigns for the United States Senate.

In 2001, Leon Levy asked Ms. Moynihan to serve with Ms. White as trustee of the Leon Levy Foundation.

John W. Bernstein, President and Chief Financial Officer

Before being appointed the first President of the Leon Levy Foundation in 2004, Mr. Bernstein was senior vice president for Institutional Development at The New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, where he was responsible for a successful $300 million campaign. Mr. Bernstein previously served as vice president for Finance at the Garden, overseeing all financial matters, including earned revenue and the endowment.

Mr. Bernstein, who holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. from its Wharton School, worked for the New York Public Library until 1991, when he moved to The New York Botanical Garden. Mr. Bernstein is active in the cultural world of New York City and has served as president of the Ping Chong & Company theater group for many years. He is President Elect of the Board and Chair of the Research Committee of the Foundation Financial Officers Group (FFOG) and Acting Chairman of the Foundation Financial Managers Group. (FFMG).

Nina Berg,  Senior Program Director, Neuroscience and Human Rights & Civil Liberties

Ms. Berg worked closely with Leon Levy for over 20 years both at Oppenheimer & Co., Inc. and at Odyssey Partners. Ms. Berg is intimately familiar with Leon Levy’s charitable preferences and activities.   As Program Coordinator  she focuses on two program areas that were of  particular interest to Mr. Levy during his lifetime, Neuroscience and Human Rights.


Jennifer E. Ellis, Executive Assistant

Ms. Ellis comes to the Foundation from Related Companies real estate, and UPH Inc. landscape and horticultural design, where she worked on development, project management and marketing.  Prior to that Ms. Ellis was Director of Communications at Gale International, a real estate development firm that specializes in master-planned, city-scale projects.  Ms. Ellis received a B.S. from Boston University with a major in Communications and Sociology.

Justine Koch, Controller

Prior to joining the Leon Levy Foundation, Mrs. Koch worked as the first assistant controller at The Surdna Foundation where she played a key financial role in a $830 million dollar endowment.  Before The Surdna Foundation she worked as the only accountant to the treasurer at the Altman Foundation.  Justine has her BBA from Pace University, Pleasantville, NY.  She is on the audit committee of The Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities as well as a board member at the Foundation for Excellence in Yorktown Education.  She lives in Westchester County with her husband, and four children.

Mirsad (Mike) Kojasevic, Building Manager

Mr. Kojasevic was the Building Manager at 15 East 84th Street when the Foundation purchased the building in 2004. He helped supervise the renovation of the building which now houses the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World. Before coming to the Foundation he was in charge of maintenance at Victory Memorial Hospital in Brooklyn. His entire career has been in construction and building maintenance.

Meredith Ross, Grants Manager

Ms. Ross joined the Foundation from the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), where she spent ten years in institutional development, most recently as Director of Foundation Partnerships.  Prior to that, she worked in development at small nonprofit organizations focused on education and public policy.  Ms. Ross holds a B.A. from Colby College and an M.B.A. from the Carroll School of Management, Boston College.


Philippe de Montebello, Special Advisor

Mr. de Montebello is a special advisor to the foundation for major initiatives in its cultural program areas. He is Director Emeritus of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, having retired in 2008 as the longest serving director in the Met’s history. He is instantly recognizable as one of the most respected voices in the cultural world. Mr. de Montebello is the first Fiske Kimball Professor in the History and Culture of Museums at the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University. He is the first Scholar-in-Residence at the Prado Museum in Madrid and is on the Board of Trustees of the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. He is currently co-host with Paula Zahn of the WNET/PBS weekly culture series SundayArts. Among his honors are The National Medal of Arts, Officer de la Legion d’Honneur and the Amigos del Museo del Prado Prize. He continues to lecture throughout the world on art, museum, and other cultural matters.

Judith H. Dobrzynski, Senior Program Consultant

Ms. Dobrzynski is a consultant to the Foundation on arts, humanities and nature programs. Formerly a reporter and a senior editor at The NewYork Times and at Business Week, with a specialty in both business and culture, as well as a senior executive at CNBC, she is also a freelance writer. Her articles have been published in The Wall Street Journal, Conde Nast Portfolio, Town & Country, Architectural Digest, The Art Newspaper, Art + Auction, Apollo, The New Republic, The New Criterion and other publications. She has written op-ed columns for the Times, WSJ, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, Boston Globe and Chicago Tribune. Ms. Dobrzynski has also served as an adjunct professor at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and as an editorial consultant to websites and documentarians.