What is it about finance types and the environment? After education, this ranks as one of the top philanthropic interests of Wall Street winners. We wrote a piece looking at the top nine such donors back in 2014, and have found a number to add to the list since then.
Duncan McFarland is one of the many green donors from finance who is on our radar.
After some 40 years with Wellington Management Company, including serving as CEO and chairman, investor McFarland retired in 2004. McFarland and his wife Ellen live in the Boston area and have engaged in philanthropy. It's unclear how much the couple is currently worth, but their charitable vehicle, Bromley Charitable Trust, held some $9.3 million in assets and gave away close to $2.9 million in a recent fiscal year.
We've written before about the couple's commitment to animals and land conservation, including their $1 million gift to Panthera and Rainforest Trust to protect a ranch in a part of Brazil that’s home to a high-density jaguar population. McFarland is also on the board of Rare, a conservation outfit that he's supported since 2008.
The McFarlands continue to be very focused in this area. One longtime grantee, Mount Grace Land Conservation, a "regional land trust that serves 23 towns in Worcester and Franklin counties... [and] has helped protect more than 29,000 acres," recently received a $100,000 matching grant from the couple through the Bromley Charitable Trust. The couple has also been heavily involved with the Marion Institute, a "nonprofit that acts as an incubator for a diverse array of programs and projects that delve into the root cause of an issue and seeks to create deep and positive change", and a spin off effort called Round the Bend Farm in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts "a living laboratory that cultivates, educates, and empowers change agents." These efforts reveal that the couple is interested in environmental education as well.
Apart from this work, the couple also earmarks funds in other areas. They've recently supported education outfits such as Beacon Academy, Colby College, Bridge Boston Charter School (which received $500,000 in the most recent fiscal year available), and Wellington Management Foundation, which "gives annual grants and catalyst gifts to programs in our communities that improve the educational opportunities of economically disadvantaged youth." McFarland and Ellen also gave William Penn Charter School $4 million in 2013. McFarland attended the school.
Additionally, McFarland is a director of New Profit, a venture philanthropy fund in Boston that focuses on increasing opportunities for mobility. New Profit has received close to $900,000 from the couple via Bromley in the two most recent available tax years. The couple has also recently funded outfits such as Greater Boston Food Bank, the Boston Foundation, antipoverty outfit LIFT, and SPAN, which "assists people who have been in prison to achieve their full potential for healthy, productive, and meaningful lives."
The couple's health philanthropy has been modest of late, but they've recently funded Peer Health Exchange and National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The McFarlands also make grants to organizations that operate abroad. Asia appears to be of particular interest and recent Bromley Foundation grantees include Japan America Refugee Network, Taktse International School in India, Cambodian Living Arts, and Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association.
The couple's foundation operates with minimal staff, and unfortunately for grantseekers, does not encourage unsolicited proposals. Instead, the McFarlands seek out organizations with which to partner. Still, those working within environmental conservation, and in New England, should keep the McFarlands on their radar.
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