OVERVIEW: Bankrolled by one of America's most successful hedge fund managers, the David Tepper Charitable Foundation focuses heavily on poverty and education issues, but gives in a few other areas as well.
FUNDING AREAS: Hunger, poverty, health, education, human services, Jewish causes
IP TAKE: While Tepper is still busy amassing his fortune, and his level of giving is modest relative to his wealth, he clearly cares a lot about the less fortunate, and much bigger philanthropy is likely ahead.
PROFILE: A native of Pittsburgh, Tepper attended University of Pittsburgh and earned his MBA at Carnegie Mellon. After a strong run at Goldman Sachs, he founded his own hedge fund, Appaloosa Management, in 1993. Appaloosa now manages $12 billion in distressed debt funds, and is known for buying debt from companies like Enron, WorldCom, Conseco, and a number of big banks in the process of tanking during the 2008 financial crisis. The result of these bets has been that the fund, and Tepper's personal wealth along with it, has increased by leaps and bounds in recent years. Tepper has made more money than most other hedge fund managers in recent years, hauling in at least $3.5 billion in a recent one.
Tepper has been a strong supporter of his hometown and his alma maters. He's given more than $125 million to Carnegie Mellon over the years, and in 2003, the business school was renamed Tepper School of Business. Apart from his hometown, he's also been active in philanthropy in the New York area, with some national and international giving as well.
His foundation held $205 million in assets at the end of a recent year, and he gave out $13.7 million that year. Grantmaking has more than doubled over the last few years. It has no website and no listed staff.
Thus far, Tepper's philanthropy in New York has been fairly predictable and consistent. He tends to give similar amounts to the same organizations annually. Hunger and poverty tops Tepper's priority list and Tepper sits on the board of the Robin Hood Foundation, giving the New York anti-poverty group between $800,000 and $1 million annually for the last couple of years.
The foundation has also given to other national and international poverty and hunger outfits such as Action Against Hunger, UNICEF and CARE. These sums have generally been between $50,000 and $125,000 annually.
When it comes to education, Tepper has a big footprint on New Jersey education issues and has helped bankroll a political action committee, Better Education for Kids. Along with another hedge fund manager, Alan Fournier, Tepper made a $3 million commitment to help improve public school leadership in Jersey City in 2014.
Tepper is also a strong funder of Teach for America and of Uncommon Schools, which manages charter schools in the New York area and Boston.
Another area where the Tepper Foundation has been active is health. He's generally given in the $25,000-$50,000 range, to leading organizations that support research and awareness of a variety of diseases, such as the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, Ace Lymphoma, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Tepper has also been giving funds to the Phoenix House, a drug rehabilitation center. Very little of his healthcare giving is New York-specific.
Finally, Tepper has given around $25,000 annually to ORT America. ORT was founded in St Petersburg in 1880 to provide employable skills for Russia’s impoverished Jewish people, but since that time ORT has evolved to provide training and education for impoverished communities worldwide. Tepper has also funded Chabad on Campus, a Jewish culture and advocacy group that operates on college campuess.
If Tepper continues to make the sort of money he has in the last few years, he's going to have quite a large pile of cash to give away—and all signs point toward him doing just that before long.
- David A. Tepper, President
9 Stonehenge Terr., No. 250B
Livingston, NJ United States 07039