Iris Cantor

Patron of the Arts

Iris Cantor is a New York City and Los Angeles -based philanthropist, with a primary interest in medicine and the arts.

Cited as among the 50 top contributors in the United States, as head of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, her foundation has donated several hundred million dollars to museums, universities and hospitals since 1978.

Iris Cantor is Chairman and President of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation and CEO and President of Amethyst, Inc., a financial holding company. She and her husband B. Gerald Cantor (1916-1996) established the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation in 1978 to fund the visual arts and medical, educational, and cultural institutions and programs in the United States and abroad. Her passion for advancing women’s health care has shaped her innovative philanthropic goals and has made her an admired figure among her peers.

Mrs. Cantor’s commitment to women’s health began when her beloved sister died from breast cancer.  She founded the Iris Cantor Center for Breast Imaging at UCLA, which offers state-of-the-art subsidized and regular mammography screenings. In July 1995 UCLA opened the Iris Cantor-UCLA Women’s Health Center, recognized internationally as a center of excellence that integrates research and education with high-quality primary care.  Mrs. Cantor has been involved in The UCLA Foundation since 1989. She was on the Board of Trustees from 1989-1997, Board of Governors from 1997-2000, and Board of Councillors from 2000-2006 and has been a UCLA Foundation Governor from 2005-present.

Iris Cantor also has championed the education of future artists. She sits on the Board of Exploring the Arts, Inc., the support organization for the new Frank Sinatra School for the Arts in Queens; she is also a member of the Dean’s Committee of Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.  She is the recipient of many awards, among them the National Medal of Arts (from President and Mrs. Clinton), the Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Award from the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the Award for Distinguished Service to the Visual Arts from ArtTable, and the UCLA Medal (the University’s highest honor).  She is a Chevalier in the French National Order of the Legion of Honor and holds an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from College of the Holy Cross.