NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE of WEALTH: Right Media, Yahoo!
FUNDING AREAS: Environment, Education, Humanitarian Causes, Arts and Culture, Health
OVERVIEW: Michael Walrath and his wife Michelle do their grantmaking through the Walrath Family Foundation, whose grantmaking prioritizes education, the environment, and humanitarian causes.
BACKGROUND: Michael Walrath grew up in Connecticut, and studied English at the University of Richmond. He started his career as an athletic shoe promoter, and then a personal trainer, before taking a job with DoubleClick selling online advertising. Despite his lack of tech skills, he became DoubleClick’s Director of Direct Marketing, and eventually left to found Right Media, a digital advertising exchange marketplace. Four years later, he hit paydirt, selling Right Media to Yahoo! for $850 million, becoming Yahoo!’s Senior VP of Advertising Strategy. Walrath did not stay at Yahoo! long, however, leaving just two years later to co-found an early stage investment firm that focuses largely on tech companies.
EDUCATION: The Walraths have supported their mutual alma mater University of Richmond. Michelle is an active member of the community at Holy Child Academy, where her 3 children attend school. The couple steadily support the school.
ENVIRONMENT: The Walraths have lent their support to organizations like Grassroots Environmental Education, Food & Water Watch, and the Peconic Land Trust. Michelle is an environmentalist and very much into wellness and well-being. In addition to a Master's in elementary education, she has a degree in teaching yoga.
HUMANITARIAN CAUSES: The Walraths support a number of organizations leading the fight against genocide, including Genocide Intervention, United to End Genocide, and Save Darfur. They also donated to Smile Train, which sends oral surgeons to developing countries to help children with cleft palates.
HEALTH: Past grantees include Breast Cancer Research Fund and Memorial Sloan Kettering.
ARTS & CULTURE: In 2008, the couple co-founded Atlas Films. Though for-profit, the organization’s mission is to educate about social issues and inspire change through the creation of feature-length documentaries. Their first film, Tapped, looked at the bottled water industry’s effects on health, pollution, and climate change, and their second, Fed Up, tackled childhood obesity. The Montauk Playhouse has also received a number of grants from the Walraths.
LOOKING FORWARD: If Michael Walrath treats his philanthropy anything like he treats his investments, he will be looking for organizations that take risks that could potentially yield big rewards. The Walraths have already demonstrated the ability to think big, taking on a number of different global issues, yet also support a number of smaller organizations that are close to home. They also appear to prefer spreading the wealth around, rather than making large donations to a few organizations.
The Walrath Family Foundation
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