Lynn Schusterman was born to a secular, German-Jewish family on January 21, 1939 at Menorah Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. She was raised in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She has two younger sisters. Her mother, Amelia Mayer, was the daughter of Moses Emmanuel Mayer and Helen Loewen Mayer, of Iowa and Kansas, respectively. Her Father, Wes Rothschild, was a brother of Louis Rothschild who served in the Eisenhower Cabinet. Her parents divorced at an early age and she was raised by Harold Josey who ran an investment company called H.I. Josey & Company. Although Jewish, her family also celebrated Christmas and Easter. She graduated from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida.
In 1962, she married Charles Schusterman, who was also Jewish although of Russian-Jewish origin. Charles grew up in Tulsa, the son of Sarah Goldstein, a Jewish emigrant from Riga, Latvia, and Sam Schusterman, a Jewish emigrant from Minsk, Belarus, who was in the used oilfield pipe equipment Business. Charles graduated from the University of Oklahoma. Charles and his brother later founded their own oil and gas company and then after dividing the Business, Charles developed his portion of the company into the Samson Investment Company (named after his father), which eventually became one of the largest gas exploration and production companies in the country. Charles, now a Billionaire, was diagnosed with leukemia in 1983 and died in 2000.
In 1987, they started the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. The foundation donates 75 percent to Jewish causes around the world and 25 percent to Oklahoma needs. In 2011, Schusterman joined Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and others by signing the Giving Pledge. Schusterman’s giving is focused on the global Jewish community, Israel and her hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
One goal of Schusterman's philanthropy is to “spread the joy of Jewish living, giving and learning.” She is known for her work in strengthening Jewish identity, supporting young Jewish innovators, expanding opportunities for Service learning and promoting inclusivity, especially within the Jewish LGBT community. Among the national Jewish organizations she supports are BBYO, Hillel, Moishe House, Birthright Israel, Repair the World and Keshet. In 1994, Schusterman helped to found a branch of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life in the Former Soviet Union in order to “reconnect thousands of Jews, once denied access to their heritage, with Judaism and the Jewish people.” Since 1998, she has authorized more than $6 million to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Israel, including a major grant to help with the renovation of the museum campus.
In 2007 she received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
Schusterman was honored in 2008 with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Public Service award and she has been named one of the “Forward 50” by the Forward newspaper five times.