Jordan Schnitzer Is the Ultimate Patron of the Arts

“He truly loves art. He’s totally passionate and emotional. He’s very moved by what artists do.”

Jordan Schnitzer (Courtesy of Jordan Schnitzer)

Age: 71

Occupation: Director of the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation, president of Schnitzer Properties

Why He Matters: If carrying on the Schnitzer legacy is a burden, it’s one Jordan Schnitzer shoulders with decades of preparation. His real estate company, Schnitzer Properties (started by his father, Harold, in the 1950s), has investments sprawled across the West. His philanthropy is inspired by both his father and his mother, Arlene, who founded the Fountain Gallery of Art in Portland in 1961. And his commitment to art is unbridled to the point of obsessive:

• Schnitzer is a collector. He owns one of the largest print collections in the country—20,000 works by Jasper Johns, David Hockney and Andy Warhol, among others.

• Schnitzer is an evangelist for art. For a quarter century, he has, at his expense, sent his collections to museums across the country, often smaller institutions connected to colleges.

• Schnitzer is one of the region’s great philanthropists. He has museums of art in his family name at the University of Oregon, Portland State and Washington State University. And few cultural institutions haven’t received support from his $26 million foundation (another Schnitzer foundation, with assets of $65 million, supports cultural institutions and a range of social services).

Biggest Influence: “The biggest influences in my life were my parents Harold and Arlene Schnitzer, then John and Betty Gray and Howard and Jean Vollum [John Gray was an Oregon entrepreneur who, among other things, developed Sunriver. Howard Vollum was one of the founders of Tektronix]. All three of these couples worked hard to build up businesses but were also devoted philanthropically to help make Portland, Oregon, and the Pacific Northwest a better place.”

Greatest Personal Achievement: “We are fortunate to always be funding a number of nonprofits that do so much for so many, but during the last 18 months we are especially proud of the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation Black Lives Matter Artist Grant Exhibition we put on.”

Favorite Guilty Pleasure: “Raiding the refrigerator for leftovers at 10:30 at night! I love eating late and I always feel guilty that I did!”

Best Quote About Them: “He truly loves art. He’s totally passionate and emotional. He’s very moved by what artists do.” —Paula Panczenko, director of Tandem Press

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