End of an Era, Helena Rubinstein Foundation Closes

If you grew up watching Sesame Street or Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, or made sure your kids grew up with some of the best children’s programming to ever hit the airwaves, you might remember this message – 

“Major funding for this morning’s programming is provided by the Helena Rubinstein foundation, a longtime supporter of outstanding children’s television.”

It was a familiar sight – the simple, whimsical PBS animation with that message playing in the background. It was almost like an inseparable part of watching one of those great children’s programs. And, in fact, it was an inseparable part – without the financial support of the Helena Rubinstein Foundation, those shows might have never gotten off the ground.

Today, the Rubinstein Foundation has announced that after over fifty years of excellent philanthropic work, it is closing down as of the end of this year. A major supporter of arts and education, the foundation’s generosity will no doubt be missed.

Helena Rubinstein, a wealthy cosmetics entrepreneur, started the foundation in 1953, for the sake of women and children. At the time, she said, “My fortune comes from women and should benefit them and their children, to better their quality of life.” To Rubinstein, that meant education above all else. In addition to supporting shows like Sesame Street, she gave out millions in grants and scholarships for those pursuing higher education.

Rubinstein, who passed away in 1965 at the age of 94, made the foundation a major benefactor of her fortune. As a result, kids across the nation have benefited from an early start on education and social skills. Add the grants and scholarships for countless students, and it’s hard to pinpoint just how influential the Helena Rubinstein Foundation really was to the nation. One thing is for sure – it will be missed.