NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Stratus Computer, Sigma + Partners; Venture Capitalist
FUNDING AREAS: Education, Health & Science Research, Arts & Culture, Boston Community
OVERVIEW: Gardner Hendrie and his wife Karen Johansen make their grantmaking through the Fannie Cox Foundation, which was established in the 1990s. Despite this, this funder keeps a low profile and has a minimal web presence. Hendrie has bankrolled a science teaching prize at his alma mater Harvard, and supported science programming at his Pennsylvania high school, Friends Central School. The couple also initiated a global health fund at Massachusetts General Hospital. Other areas of interest include arts and culture and the environment. The couple's philanthropy prioritizes the Boston area.
BACKGROUND: Gardner C. Hendrie received his bachelor's degree in physics from Harvard University and his M.S. from University of Pennsylvania. Hendrie worked at Computer Control Company, later acquired by Honeywell, where he was responsible for the conception and design of the world's first 16-bit minicomputer. In 1980, Hendrie was one of the three founders of Stratus Computer. Hendrie later joined Sigma + Partners, where he currently serves as Special Limited Partner based out of Boston.
EDUCATION: Hendrie is a graduate of Friends' Central School in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. Through the Fannie Cox Foundation, Hendrie and Karen have steadily supported the school, where several million-dollar gifts went last decade alone. The school is the site of the The Fannie Cox Center for Science, Math and Technology. Recent grants have also supported a scholarship program at the school, as well as a visiting science program. Apart from this grantmaking, recent funds have gone to Clark University, Hill for Literacy, and New England Conservatory of Music. Other support has gone to Hendrie's undergraduate alma mater, Harvard, which is home to the Fannie Cox Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching.
HEALTH & SCIENCE RESEARCH: In 2013, Hendrie made a $2 million gift to Massachusetts General Hospital towards the "Fannie Cox Global Health Fund." Information on exactly what this fund supports is hard to come by, but a rundown of some of the other couple's recent grants in this area might be helpful. Recent grantees include major, conventional organizations such as Dana Farber Cancer Institute. However, Hendrie also supported Fraxxa Research Foundation, "an international nonprofit organization finding a cure for Fragile X Syndrome, the leading inherited cause of autism and intellectual disabilities," and Marcel's Way Family Fund, "a program that offers a helping hand in the way of direct financial support to those suffering from mitochondrial disease," a rare disorder that occurs when structures that produce energy for a cell malfunction. Fraxxa Research has received funds for at least the last decade.
ARTS & CULTURE: Recent grantmaking through the Fannie Cox Foundation has involved organizations such as American Repertory Theater, Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Museum of Fine Arts and The Huntington Theater. Most of these grantees are Boston-area organizations, though regular grants of around $100,000 have supported Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, where Hendrie sits on the board. Money has also supported The Barnstormers Theatre in New Hampshire and the Mark Morris Dance Group in Brooklyn, New York, as well as the Museum of World War II in Natick, Massachusetts.
BOSTON COMMUNITY: Hendrie supported local environmental organizations such as Save Buzzards Bay Coalition and Southborough Open Land Foundation, and to human services outfits such as Samaritans. Funds have also gone to local public station, WGBH.
LOOKING FORWARD: Hendrie prioritizes Boston and other regions where he has personal ties. Expect this to continue. His global health fund is intriguing, though again for now, information about this effort remains scarce. More than half of the $369,687 the fund dispersed in 2015 went to The Computer History Museum and the Fannie Cox Prize for Science Teaching at Harvard. The foundation's contributions overall have declined steadily since 2013.
The Fannie Cox Foundation does not provide a clear way to get in touch with the couple, but below is an address:
The Fannie Cox Foundation
P.O. Box 690
Southborough, MA 01772