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About Us

Sir Leonard Blavatnik. Photo: John Cairns

Advancing innovation, discovery, and creativity today, creates a better world tomorrow

BSG students

Students at the Blavatnik School of Government. Photo: John Cairns

We believe science, education, arts and culture, and history hold the key to improving the human condition.

The Blavatnik Family Foundation provides many of the world’s best researchers, scientists, and future leaders with the support and funding needed to solve humankind’s greatest challenges.

We promote and preserve the creativity and beauty of world-class arts and cultural institutions. And we honor Jewish history and support local organizations working to care for the most marginalized.

The Blavatnik Family Foundation is a 501(c)(3) private foundation.

Guiding Principles


We support early-stage scientific research and discovery with the potential to redefine human health.


We form long-term partnerships and make meaningful contributions for future growth.


We support the brightest minds and most prestigious institutions to support continued development and facilitate success.


We value big thinking and those with endless imagination, ingenuity and drive.

Our Team

Sir Leonard Blavatnik


Sir Leonard Blavatnik is among the world’s most accomplished businessmen and prominent philanthropists. For nearly four decades, he has transformed companies into international market leaders while also advancing science, higher education, and culture through charitable giving.

The Blavatnik Family Foundation is exclusively self-funded and has contributed more than $1 billion to over 250 world-class institutions and charitable organizations over the past decade.

In 2017, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his service to philanthropy and was appointed Chevalier of the French Legion d’Honneur for his support of education in 2013.

A dual US-UK citizen, Len is the founder of Access Industries, a privately held company headquartered in New York with a global portfolio of over $35 billion.

Born in Odesa, Ukraine, Len and his family emigrated to the United States in 1978.  He earned his Master’s in Computer Science from Columbia University in 1981 and his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1989.

He is also engaged in numerous educational, scientific, and cultural endeavors—as a Board Director of Tel Aviv University and Carnegie Hall, and as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Harvard Global Advisory Council, among others.

Sir Leonard and Lady Blavatnik have been married since 1994 and have four children together.

Lady Emily Blavatnik


Emily Blavatnik is Co-Chair of the Blavatnik Family Foundation. A lifelong patron of the arts, she dedicates her philanthropy to world-class cultural institutions, as well as charities that care for underprivileged and underserved children.

A longtime benefactor of the New York City Ballet, Emily also supports Alvin Ailey, American Ballet Theater, and Carnegie Hall.

She sponsors causes that benefit underserved families, in particular through the Ronald McDonald House and the Fresh Air Fund. She supports women’s health and reproductive rights through major gifts to Mt. Sinai Women’s Health Center and Planned Parenthood, among others.

Born and raised in New York, Emily received her BA in Art History from New York University.

Sir Leonard and Lady Blavatnik have been married since 1994 and have four children together.

Alex Blavatnik

Senior Advisor

Alex Blavatnik is Senior Advisor to the Blavatnik Family Foundation. Additionally, Alex oversees the Blavatnik Archive, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to preserving and disseminating materials that contribute to the study of 20th-century Jewish and world history, with a special emphasis on World War I, World War II, and Soviet Russia.

Sir Michael Pakenham

Senior Advisor

The Hon. Sir Michael Pakenham, KBE, CMG, has been Senior Advisor to Access Industries and the Blavatnik Family Foundation since 2004.  His first career was as a British diplomat, which included postings to embassies in Washington, New Delhi, Brussels (EU), Paris and Luxembourg (as Ambassador). In London he served as Cabinet Secretary for Overseas and Defence Affairs, as Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, and as Intelligence Coordinator. His last diplomatic posting was as British Ambassador to Poland.

Since then he has pursued Blavatnik interests in philanthropy, education, culture, and political causes. These have included the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford, the Tate Blavatnik Building, the Blavatnik Wing at the National Portrait Gallery, and the Blavatnik Fine Rooms at the Courtauld Institute. He has also served as Vice-Chairman of the Council of King’s College, London. He is a Freeman of the City of London, and a Distinguished Friend of Oxford.

Born in Oxford, Michael was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, and Rice University, Texas.

Peter Thoren

Executive Vice President, Head of Family Office

Peter L. Thorén is Executive Vice President of Access Industries and Head of the Access Family Office. He is a director of Access Industries and also manages the Blavatnik Family Foundation, which has contributed over $1 billion to scientific, educational, cultural, and other charitable institutions throughout the world over the past decade.

Prior to joining Access in 2001, Peter served in senior management positions with Salomon Inc and Walker Digital and was an attorney with Rogers & Wells law firm in New York.  Peter serves on the boards of The New York Academy of Sciences, The Better Angels Society, The Warner Music Group/Blavatnik Family Foundation Social Justice Fund, and Columbia University’s School of Engineering.

Peter graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has degrees from the London School of Economics and Political Science and Georgetown University Law Center. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Lisa Shields

Executive Vice President

Since 2022, Lisa Shields has been Executive Vice President of Strategic Communications at Access Industries and the Blavatnik Family Foundation.

Previously, Lisa spent more than two decades leading global communications at the Council on Foreign Relations, the country’s most prestigious nonpartisan foreign policy think tank, membership organization, and publisher of Foreign Affairs.

Over the course of her career, she has advised a broad range of high-profile intellectuals, advocates, and artists on media, social media, and marketing strategies. Lisa began her professional life reporting and producing for news magazines and specials at ABC News, the A&E Network, and Thirteen/WNET.

She received her BA in international affairs and economics from the American University of Paris and her MS from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Learn More

Discover the cutting-edge science we fund

Providing many of the world's best researchers, scientists, and universities with support, and funding to discover breakthroughs that solve humankind's greatest challenges.

See how we support great cultural institutions around the world

The Foundation contributes to renowned institutions that showcase the breadth of arts and culture, including performance, exhibition and education.

Visit the Blavatnik Archive

The Blavatnik Archive is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to preserving and disseminating materials that contribute to the study of 20th-century Jewish and world history, with a special emphasis on World War I, World War II, and Soviet Russia.