NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Highfields Capital Management
JEWISH FUNDING AREAS: Education & Youth, Community Organizations, Israel Advocacy, Policy,
OVERVIEW: The mission of the Jacobson Family Foundation is to "accelerate and bolster the success of nonprofit organizations with the highest potential to achieve breakthrough results on some of the most pressing problems facing the United States and the Jewish people." Jonathon Jacobson and his wife Joanna support a number of Jewish organizations annually, both in the U.S. (primarily in the Northeast), and in Israel. The foundation held more than half a billion in assets and gave away more than $26 million in a recent tax year. The foundation has a website but at the time of this report was being updated.
BACKGROUND: Jonathon Jacobson graduated with a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He served as a senior equity portfolio manager of Harvard Management Co, and vice president of Equity Arbitrage Group at Shearson Lehman Brothers in New York. He cofounded Highfields Capital Management, L.P.
FUNDING PROFILE: Jonathon Jacobson and his wife Joanna have given millions to Brandeis University, near Boston. Other Jewish educational outfits the couple has supported include American Friends of Tel Aviv University; and American Israel Education Foundation, which provides "grants to support select educational programs including Middle East research, educational materials and conferences, and leadership programs for university students." The couple has also supported Harvard Hillel and other Hillel outfits, Israel on Campus Coalition, Chabad House at Harvard, and Israel-America Academic Exchange, whose mission is to "deepen understanding of Israel within the international academic community." It's clear that this funder sees colleges and universities as an important space for Jewish life and causes.
The Jacobsons via their family foundation also support Jewish youth outfits like Jewish Big Brother & Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, Jewish Family and Children's Services, and Jewish Kids Groups Foundation. The couple has also given millions to Birthright Israel Foundation.
The Jacobsons support a number of organizations that support and advocate for Israel. These include Central Fund for Israel, "an American non-profit association which funds projects in Israel (and) settlement projects in the West Bank;" Friends of Yemin Orde, which supports the Yemin Orde Youth Village in Northern Israel; Israel & Co, which "helps build a greater understanding of an appreciation for Israel;" The Jerusalem Foundation; and Seal-Moaz, which "works to enhance Israel’s socio-economic resilience by identifying, training, networking and accelerating ethical and professional leaders focused on driving actions for the better good."
The Jacobson Family Foundation's grantmaking also involves Jewish community organizations like Jewish Community Center of Greater Boston and Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. A component of this couple's philanthropy also involves shaping policy. They've funded organizations like the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and the Israel Project, "a non-profit educational organization that gets facts about Israel and the Middle East to press, public officials and the public."
The couple has also given millions to Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, a "central fundraising and planning arm of Boston's Jewish community, supporting over eighty social service agencies."
LOOKING FORWARD: Only in his 50s, Jacobson is still very much engged in business and has a lot of philanthropy ahead of him. It's worth mentioning that Joanna is heavily involved with a sophisticated Boston-area foundation and a pro bono consulting firm. For a complete look at this funder's philanthropy, read our Wall Street Profile of Jonathon Jacobson.