OVERVIEW: The Baron Capital Foundation is the charitable vehicle of billionaire Ron Baron and his wife Judy. Giving through the foundation is relatively modest and mainly focused in New York.
IP TAKE: The Barons gives upward of 50 to 60 grants annually, distributed over a wide variety of causes. While individual grants over $100,000 or even $50,000 are rare, once the couple finds an outfit they like, they often give consistently from year to year.
FUNDING AREAS: Education, health, arts & culture, Jewish causes
PROFILE: Ron Baron grew up in a Jewish family in Asbury Park, NJ, and attended Bucknell University, and George Washington University Law School before landing a job in the U.S. Patent Office. He became a securities analyst in 1970, working for several brokerage firms before starting his own firm in 1982. These days, Baron Capital Management's portfolio contains more than $25 billion in assets and Baron has a net worth of around $2 billion.
In recent years, Baron Capital Foundation has given around $1 to $2 million annually, mainly in New York. Large grants aren't coming out of the foundation, and giving tends to target tens of organizations each receiving modest funds. The good news is that a lot of different New York organizations have seen Baron money.
One of Baron's key causes in New York is health. In a recent year, funds went to the SLE Lupus Foundation, Lymphoma Research Foundation, Lung Cancer Research Foundation and NYU Langone Medical Center. These outfits have been supported in prior years, and Baron appears to stick with outfits he funds over the course of several years. Gifts to these outfits, however, generally range from $5,000 to $10,000 annually.
Weill Cornell Medical School appears to be Baron's largest health recipient, receiving $1 million and over $100,000 in past years. Outside of New York, larger sums of around $100,000 have gone to University of Miami Brain Tumor Initiative. Cancer research appears to be of some interest to this funder, though a number of different health causes have seen money as well.
In education, Bronx's Horace Mann School at Bronx High School of Science have seen recent modest sums. Small sums have also gone to Columbia Business School. Outside of New York, slightly larger sums (around $5,000 annually) have gone to Baron's alma mater, Bucknell University. Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania have received as much as $400,000 in one year.
Baron also has supported New York City's arts institutions, including the Metropolitan Opera House, which tends to receive $450,000 annually. There is some speculation that this gift is part of his payment for renting the space for his annual Investor Conference, where he brings in big-name entertainers like Celine Dion and Billy Joel to perform for the heavyweight CEOs and potential investors. Other grants have included $50,000 to the Big Apple Circus, $5,000 to the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, and $2,500 to the Lincoln Center Theatre.
Baron also has supported a number of different Jewish organizations in New York, including Birthright Israel Foundation, American Friends of the Israel Museum, and a recent $125,000 gift to the UJA where Judy has served on the Board of Directors.
It's worth noting that outside of New York City, Los Angeles outfits have seen some modest recent support as well. One preferred outfit is Milken Institute, an economic think-tank which has received around $100,000 annually in recent years.
Looking ahead, Baron Capital Management has grown significant in recent years. Perhaps this will lead to an uptick in giving. The Barons' foundation does not a website, or any way for grantseekers to apply for funds.
- David R. Baron, Trustee
- Michael R. Baron, Trustee
- Ronald Baron, Trustee
Baron Capital Foundation
767 5th Avenue, 49th Floor
New York, NY 10153