NET WORTH: $1.36 billion
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Inherited, Smokewood Entertainment
FUNDING AREAS: Human Services & Health, Education & Youth, Arts & Culture, Environment, Global
OVERVIEW: Gary Magness, his wife Sarah Siegel-Magness, and family move their philanthropy through the Magness Family Foundation. Los Angeles and Denver serve as important sites of philanthropy. Human services and youth organizations are among this funder’s interests.
BACKGROUND: Born in Texas, Gary Magness attended Western State College of Colorado. Magness's late father, Bob, started cable giant TCI, then merged with AT&T in 1999 in a $48 billion deal. Magness inherited half of his father's fortune. Magness and his wife Sarah founded Smokewood Entertainment, which produced the Oscar-winning film Precious.
HUMAN SERVICES & HEALTH: Magness and Sarah via their foundation recently gave a $1.5 million donation to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles towards a full-time certified music therapist to work with patients recovering from life-threatening illnesses. The family has also supported Food Bank of the Rockies, Weld County Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles, and HollyRod Foundation, which provides "medical, physical, and emotional support to individuals living with Parkinson's Disease as well as families of children with autism.”
EDUCATION & YOUTH: The Magnesses have supported Berkeley Hall School, Alliance for Children’s Rights, and The Eva Longoria Foundation, among others. The foundation is also a supporter of Whole Kids Foundation, funding salad bar equipment for 400 schools across the country; the couple is interested in improving food access. Magness and Sarah also helped launch the Precious Center for Teen Leadership, part of the Fresh Air Fund's outdoor camp in upstate New York for inner-city girls.
ARTS & CULTURE: Grantees have included The Art of Elysium, which empowers “artists and communities of need to join together and emotionally triumph over their circumstances through art.“
ENVIRONMENT: Apart from their work with Fresh Air Fund, the family has also supported National Resource Defense Fund.
GLOBAL: The foundation’s grantmaking has supported Careyes Foundation whose mission is to “catalyze innovative programs related to education, health, sport, ecology, agriculture and art in order to improve the well-being of local communities a long the South Pacific coast of Jalisco, Mexico.” The couple sits on the residents' board of Careyes Foundation.
LOOKING FORWARD: Only in his 60s, billionaire Gary Magness and family should be watched carefully in the coming years. Given the couple’s work in entertainment, perhaps more arts grantmaking through their foundation will emerge as well.
Gary Magness Family Foundation does not provide a clear avenue of contact but below is an address:
Gary Magness Family Foundation
1200 17th St., Ste. 660
Denver, CO 80202