NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Priceline; MissionPoint Capital Partners
FUNDING AREAS: Sustainable Food & Food Waste, Resilient Habitats and Communities (emerging)
OVERVIEW: The Fink Family Foundation is the philanthropic vehicle of Jesse Fink, his wife, Betsy, and family. The mission of the foundation is to help communities toward a more "balanced, sustainable relationship with the environment." The charity takes an investment-based approach and gave around $1 million away in a recent fiscal year. The foundation has a strong web presence but reviews proposals but invitation only.
BACKGROUND: Jesse M. Fink graduated from State University of New York's College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York, where he received a B.S. in resource management. Fink also holds an MBA from Syracuse University's School of Management. Fink was the founding COO at priceline.com, running operations from inception through IPO. He's also a cofounder of MissionPoint Capital Partners, a private investment firm focused on financing the transition to a low-carbon economy.
SUSTAINABLE FOOD SYSTEMS: The Fink Family Foundation has two funding priority areas. Through its sustainable food systems area, the foundation focuses on food waste, food access, and climate change. One might ask how climate change is related to food, but as the foundation explains "climate change is a pressing issue for our future. It is not only an environmental issue it is a human community issue. Research concludes that industrial agriculture is one of the major contributors to climate change...on a large-scale we focus on innovation in the agricultural sector that will expand the infrastructure and expertise to catalyze a paradigm shift in food systems."
The foundation is a seed funder of Wholesome Wave, along with The Newman's Own Foundation. Wholesome Wave describes itself as " a nonprofit organization that creates partnership-based programs that enable underserved consumers to make healthier food choices by increasing affordable access to health, locally and regionally grown foods."
The foundation has also taken a lead role in the launch of the new ReFED initiative, a research and education initiative seeking to reduce food waste by 50 percent before 2030. The program has several partners, but Fink Family Foundation was a seed funder, backing its creation of a Roadmap to Reduce U.S. Food Waste, the first report of its kind. Jesse Fink is on the steering committee of ReFED, and the investment firm he co-founded, MissionPoint Partners, was the project lead for the Roadmap.
Other grantees include Center for EcoTechnology, which helps people and businesses save energy and reduce waste; Harlem Grown, whose mission is to inspire youth to live healthy and ambitious lives through mentorship and hands-on education in urban farming, sustainability and nutrition; Harvard Food law and Policy Clinic; and NRDC.
RESILIENT HABITATS & COMMUNITIES: The Fink Family Foundation recently started exploring this area.
LOOKING FORWARD: It's unclear how much money the Finks have waiting in the wings, but this small family foundation is part of the emerging food waste movement, and should be watched carefully in the coming years.