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, Trustee
Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Treasurer, Ford Foundation 

John W. Bernstein is vice president, chief operating officer and treasurer of the Ford Foundation. His oversight responsibilities include all areas of operations and finance globally, including directing all aspects of the foundation’s financial operations, information technology, program services, information management, facilities management, and all related capital projects.

Before joining the Ford Foundation in 2015, John served as founding president and chief financial officer of the Leon Levy Foundation.  As the foundation’s first president, he oversaw its creation in 2004 and established financial planning, analysis, and internal control processes, working closely with trustees to set and review goals for all areas of the foundation’s philanthropy and administration, including its financial management and grant making.  John Bernstein was elected Trustee of the Leon Levy Foundation in January 2015.

President and Chief Financial Officer (POSITION TO BE FILLED)

The President and CFO is responsible for all areas of managing the Foundation and reports directly to the Trustees. A close working relationship exists between the P/CFO and the Trustees. The candidate should see this position as an opportunity to help the Trustees support and achieve the mission of the LLF.

The P/CFO manages all aspects of LLF’s portfolio through activities such as quarterly investment committee meetings, due diligence meetings with fund managers, statistical and benchmarking analysis and weekly portfolio updates. The P/CFO assists the Trustees in making appropriate investment decisions consistent with the cash flow requirements of the LLF anticipated expense and grant making activities.

The P/CFO will help the Trustees develop and refine the LLF program and set long term goals. He/she will work closely with the Grants Manager through the LLF grant review process.

The P/CFO will oversee the maintenance of 14 E 84 St, the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (a graduate division of NYU, created by the LLF, which still owns the building.) He/she will oversee maintenance of all financial, legal and accounting records and required reporting to all authorizing and tax authorities.

The P/CFO will review and maintain excellent systems across the LLF administrative structure. The LLF has a small but skilled level of personnel. It is the responsibility of the P/CFO to maintain a culture of collaboration among the staff.

The President and CFO must maintain best practices and the highest standards of philanthropic activity and fiduciary responsibility.

The successful candidate should have experience in a leadership position and excellent verbal and writing skills, good judgment and energy!

For confidential consideration kindly contact the search consultants:


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 & Manager of Special Projects

Prior to joining the Foundation, Ms. Ross spent fifteen years as a development professional, most recently as Director of Foundation Partnerships for the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), which provides entrepreneurship education programs in low-income schools nationwide.  She also worked for NetAid Foundation (subsequently merged into MercyCorps) and for MassINC, a non-partisan public policy think tank in Boston.  Ms. Ross holds a B.A. in history 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.