This Wealthy Philly Couple Has Education on Their Minds

Investor Jeffrey S. Yass is a founder of Susquehanna International Group (SIG) headquartered in suburban Philadelphia. SIG was established in 1987 by Yass and several of his other SUNY Binghamton pals. Yass currently serves as a managing director at the firm and also sits on the board of the Cato Institute, the D.C. based libertarian think-tank. He's been in the news having given more than $2 million to Rand Paul.

Yass, a 1979 SUNY Binghampton graduate, has been obsessed with odds and probability since he was a youth an interest which earned Yass a million dollars just a few years after graduating. It's unclear how much the SIG cofounder is currently worth and Yass flies somewhat under the radar, as does his philanthropy. He and his wife, Janine, do not yet appear to have a family foundation, but a vehicle called Choice Academics reveals the couple's philanthropic focus. According to Philly.com, Janine runs Choice Academics and tax records show that the vehicle has been used to channel modest funds to Boys' Latin Charter School of Philadelphia, a school which serves diverse youth.

Janine, in fact, is a staunch education reform advocate in Philadelphia and beyond. She's vice chair emeritus for the Center on Education Reform's board of directors and founded, by the way, Boys’ Latin Charter School, chairing the school's board through 2010. Yass and Janine have also pumped huge money into Philadelphia School Partnership (PSP), where the couple is listed as a lead investor, having given more than $5 million, in the company of the Walton Family Foundation and the William Penn Foundation. PSP states that its purpose is to "raise philanthropic funds to invest in the startup, expansion and turnaround of public and private schools, and we work to create the conditions for great schools to thrive." PSP's goal is to raise $100 million by 2016.

Apart from this work, the couple has also supported education outfits such as 50CAN, "a nonprofit organization that works at the local level to advocate for a high-quality education for all kids, regardless of their address," and Children's Scholarship Fund Philadelphia. Yass and Janine are also interested in supporting youth outfits. They've supported Child Mind Institute, a childrens' mental health care outfit, HelpUsAdopt.org and Save the Children. The couple has also worked with the Barnes Foundation, whose goal is to "promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture.”

It's unclear if the couple will establish family foundation in the coming years, but it's probably a good bet to keep an eye on Yass and Janine in this space.