James and Kathryn Murdoch

NET WORTH: $500 million

SOURCE of WEALTH: News Corp, 21st Century Fox

FUNDING AREAS: Natural Resources, Science, Civic Life, Childhood Health and Equal Opportunity

OVERVIEW: Earlier in the decade, James Murdoch launched the Quadrivium Foundation with his wife Kathryn. Quadrivium invests at the "intersection of society's challenges" with interests in the environment, science, and more. The charity has a strong web presence.

BACKGROUND: The younger son of Rupert Murdoch was born in England, and subsequently emigrated with his father to the United States, where he studied at Horace Mann School, and then Harvard University, though he left Harvard before completing his degree. He also started working for his dad’s companies early on, interning at the Sydney Daily Mirror at 15. After leaving Harvard, he joined News Corp, and was appointed chairman of Festival Records. He also took charge of the company’s internet ventures. He has helped run various News Corp companies over the years, and is currently the chairman of New Corp’s Asian and Italian satellite services, as well as the COO of 21st Century Fox.


ENVIRONMENT:  One of Quadrivium Foundation's focus areas is Natural Resources, through which it supports "programs that create both prosperous communites and innovation in the sustainable use of resources." The foundation helps support Environmental Defense Fund and Fish Forever Indonesia. It is worth mentioning that Kathryn Murdoch once worked for the Clinton Climate Initiative and is an advocate for aligning economic and environmental health. She also sits on the board of Environmental Defense Fund.

SCIENCE: Through this grantmaking category, the foundation supported Rockefeller University and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The foundation states that they are not just interested in pure scientific research but also on "individuals and institutions focused on scientific communication."

CIVIC LIFE: The Murdochs live in New York City, an important site of philanthropy. They support antipoverty giant Robin Hood Foundation, and NY Public Library, among others.

CHILDHOOD HEALTH: The foundation bankrolls the Quadrivium Award for Innovative Research in Epigenetics in conjunction with Rockefeller University. Epigenetics is the study of "heritable genetic changes caused by factors other than the actual DNA sequence." These factors have been implicated in a wide range of health conditions, including cancer. The foundation also supports Edible Schoolyard NYC.

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY: Quadrivium also prioritizes education and opportunities for women and girls, supporting organizations in communities where significant oppression is evident.

LOOKING FORWARD: It is fairly evident that Kathryn is a major driver of the couple’s philanthropy, so look for environmental causes and women’s empowerment to emerge as two main funding priorities for their foundation. Although they may have relatively limited assets now, as one of the heirs to Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, there is the potential that the operation could be turned into a philanthropic powerhouse at some point down the line.