one8 Foundation: Boston Grants

OVERVIEW: Formerly known as the Jacobson Family Foundation, the one8 Foundation is the charitable vehicle of Jonathon Jacobson and his wife Joanna. The foundation's Boston philanthropy focuses on education, particularly charter schools, supporting at-risk youth and their families, and Jewish outfits.

IP TAKE: The one8 Foundation, which is both a foundation and a pro bono consulting firm, is all about strategic grantmaking. While the foundation provides no clear avenues for grantseekers to approach, those looking to catch Jacobson's eye should have demonstrated success within the foundation's focus areas.  

PROFILE: The one8 Foundation was founded in 1997 in Massachusetts where Jonathon Jacobson's Highfields Capital Management LP, is headquartered. Highfields' investment funds have over $12 billion in assets under management invested worldwide. While it's unclear how much Jacobson and his wife, Joanna, a Harvard M.B.A. who serves as president of the foundation, are worth, the one8 Foundation held over $513 million in assets at the end of a recent and gave away more than $26 million.  Both assets and grantmaking has been on the rise since then.

Boston and its surrounding communities, where the couple is active in civic life, are their primary interest. The one8 Foundation's website lists several focus areas: Excellence in K-12 Education, Resilient Families & Caring Mentors for U.S. Youth at Risk, as well as supporting the Jewish community both in the United States and Israel. It's also worth noting that a portion of one8s annual grants support direct service to assist families in need in Massachusetts and to support the Jewish Community.

one8 has a clear interest in improving outcomes for youth. Major grantees in this space include Year Up and City Year. City Year partners with high-need public schools to provide full-time targeted student interventions. Perhaps the largest amounts in recent years have gone to Youth Villages, which received a multi-year, $8 million pledge. Youth Villages is a Memphis-headquartered nonprofit with Massachusetts locations which runs a host of programs supporting at-risk youth. Joanna sits on the board of the organization. 

The foundation has also been supportive of Boston education reform efforts, particularly toward charters. Joanna sits on the board of Edward Brooke Charter Management, a group of charter schools. In 2013, the couple gave at least $1 million to Unlocking Potential, now known as the UP Education Network, a network of tuition-free public elementary and middle schools in Massachusetts. The couple has also supported Boston Bridge, another charter. In higher education, modest sums have gone to the couple's alma mater Harvard, and millions have gone to Brandeis University.

one8 has been a strong funder of the Jewish community. Recent significant sums have gone to outfits like the American Israel Education Foundation, the Birthright Israel Foundation (at least $2 million), and Combined Jewish Philanthropies (at least $1.75 million). Brandeis University is also the site of the Jehuda Reinharz Chair, which one8 supported with a $1 million grant.

Health isn't a huge interest of one8, but he's recently given money to Boston health outfits such asBrigham and Women's Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts.

Finally, a steady stream of money has flowed from the one8 Foundation to Strategic Grant Partners (SGP), which Joanna founded and where she currently serves as managing partner. SGP, much like the one8 Foundation, is both a foundation and a pro bono consulting firm. The outfit partners with grantees to "provide the capital they need to realize their potential and the support to strategize, implement and troubleshoot." Both SGP and one8 take a strategic approach toward philanthropy. SGP has given around $60 million to almost 50 grantees so far, working in areas such as education and health in Massachusetts. There is some overlap in funding priorities between one8 and SGP.

The one8 Foundation does not have a clear avenue for approaching the couple for support.


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