Blackstone’s Schwarzman donates $100M

Stephen A. Schwarzman, the CEO of The Blackstone Group, will donate $100 million of his personal fortune to expand the New York Public Library system, considered one of the largest gifts for a cultural institution in the city.

The gift, announced last week, will go towards transforming the Fifth Avenue Central Library into a research and book-borrowing destination. Books currently cannot be check out from the library.

The library will be renamed for the 61-year-old Wall Street financier and library trustee.

“This was an absolutely first-class, professional, practical strategic plan, and it deserved to be supported,” Schwarzman told The New York Times. “The library helps lower- and middle-income people get their shot at the American dream.”

Schwarzman last year took Blackstone (NYSE: BX) public and received more than $350 million in compensation. This includes a salary of $350,000, according to a recent regulatory filing. The Blackstone head also received nearly $180,000 in other compensation, which includes use of a car and driver. He also received about $4.8 billion worth of stock awards as part of last year’s IPO. His stock holdings, however, have declined in value since the June public debut, when the stock initially traded for $31 a share. Last week, Blackstone stock was trading for about $16 a share.

Paul LeClerc, the president of the library’s board of trustees, says that Schwarzman’s name would be discreetly placed in stone on either side of the main entrance of the Central Library, but only if the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission approves the change to the protected structure. None of the other trustees raised concerns about the renaming, he says. —Alastair Goldfisher