NET WORTH: $1.2 billion
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Legendary Entertainment
FUNDING AREAS: Education, Medical & Scientific Research, Health, Social Services, TBD
OVERVIEW: Thomas Tull and his wife Alba do their grantmaking through the Tull Family Foundation (TFF), which funds efforts across the education, medical and scientific research communities, and the health and social services sectors. The couple primarily make grants in their hometowns of Los Angeles and Pittsburgh.
BACKGROUND: Tull attended Hamilton College on a football scholarship. He started a chain of laundries and purchased a string of tax-prep businesses. Tull raised $500 million from Wall Street and headed to Hollywood in 2005 to finance films, including the Dark Knight trilogy and the Hangover series. He founded film production company Legendary Entertainment. His Tull Investment Group, meanwhile, funds life science, media, and technology companies, such as Pinterest and Zoox.
EDUCATION: TFF's primary focus is education, particularly "programs in grades 6-12 that seek to give students the tools they need to be contributing members of society" --targeting college readiness, high school completion and mentoring.
MEDICAL & SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH: Alba is on the board of The Rett Syndrome Research Trust (RSRT), to which TFF recently gave $500,000. Part of the story here is that Alba's friend's child was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome, a neurological disorder. Overall, TFF makes medical and scientific research grants that are primarily initiated by the founders. However, the foundation says it will accept grant proposals from "ground-breaking studies or initiatives that do not qualify for traditional funding streams."
SOCIAL SERVICES: Though not TFF's primary focus, the foundation will fund programs that address poverty issues and assist the economically disadvantaged. Prevention programs are especially favored. Los Angeles and Pittsburgh are priorities. The family gave $50,000 to Play Conejo, which helps Conejo Recreation and Park District in Thousand Oaks, CA, to "maintain quality parks and offer diverse and affordable recreation programs." Pennsylvania is home The Tull Family Theater in Sewickley, in the Pittsburgh area.
LOOKING FORWARD: Only in his late 40s, and very much still engaged in business, Tull's philanthropy is just starting out. This is a billionaire couple to watch in the coming years. One idea: Tull purchased a 157-acre farm in Western Pennsylvania and so greater environmental philanthropy may be something to look for as well.