NET WORTH: $2.2 billion
SOURCE OF WEALTH: InterSystems
FUNDING AREAS: Health (AIDS Research), Boston Community, Global Development & Humanitarian
OVERVIEW: Phillip Ragon and his wife Susan move their philanthropy through the Phillip and Susan Ragon Foundation. Aside from major support made toward AIDS research, the couple is also active in the Boston community. They've also supported
BACKGROUND: Phillip "Terry" Ragon graduated from MIT in 1971, and is the founder, CEO, and sole owner of InterSystems, the biggest provider of database management services in the health sector.
HEALTH: In 2009, on the heels of a trip to South Africa, the couple pledged to donate $100 million over $10 years to AIDS Research, helping to create the Phillip T. and Susan M. Ragon Institute at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), MIT and Harvard. The institute focuses on finding vaccines for autoimmune diseases, focusing on AIDS, and is a collaborative effort between Harvard, MIT, and MGH. Prior to that, the couple had given at least another $6 million to the MGH General Fund, and also tends to make smaller yearly contributions to MGH and Boston Children’s Hospital. As far as organizations that operate outside the Boston area go, they are rare and small, but do happen from time to time— for example, an organization called Healthcare Nepal, based in Newtown, PA has received a $5,000 grant for the last several years, and a catholic school in Bogota, San Pablo Apostol, has been given funds as well.
BOSTON COMMUNITY: The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation has received annual grants of under $50,000 the last few years. It’s unclear exactly what the total is, but a minimum of $275,000 would be a pretty safe bet. Many of the grants in the Boston Community, however, go to faith-based groups, including a number of parishes, cathedrals and churches. They’ve also given at least $30,000 to the Boys & Girls Club of Boston.
HUMANITARIAN & GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT: The Ragons have supported Amnesty International. The couple has also helped build schools for poor communities in Bogota, Colombia, where Ragon spent a year as a high school student.
LOOKING FORWARD: The couple recently became the fourth couple in Massachusetts sign the Giving Pledge, so expect plenty more money to move out of the door. Expect global development to receive strong attention from the couple going forward. As Ragon writes, "my passion has been helping people in need in developing countries develop the ability to help themselves.... These are people who need help through no fault of their own....Ultimately, our real goal is to leave the world at least a little better than we found it — or at least better than it would otherwise have been."
Phillip and Susan Ragon Foundation
c/o Patrick J Cox, Veritas Advisors
PO Box 380281
Cambridge, MA 02238