The Altman Foundation was established in 1913 under Benjamin Altman’s will “for the benefit of such charitable and educational institutions in the City of New York as said directors shall approve”. His will bequeathed all his capital stock in B. Altman & Co. to the Altman Foundation.
Following Altman’s death, Colonel Michael Friedsam, his close relative and colleague, led the business and the Foundation until his own death in 1931. Friedsam was also an art collector and a philanthropist with a deep interest in New York.
As a result of the tax reform act of 1969, which prohibits the control of businesses by private foundations, the Altman Foundation relinquished ownership of B. Altman & Co. in 1985. While there were restrictions in the Foundation’s original charter limiting grants to within the State of New York, the Trustees have further refined the guidelines to giving within New York City.more » « less