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 toward AIDS research, the couple is also active in the Boston community.
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, creating the Phillip T. and Susan M. Ragon Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), MIT and Harvard. The institute focuses on vaccines for autoimmune diseases, including 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. Outside the Boston area, an organization called Healthcare Nepal, based in Newtown, Pennsylvania, received a $5,000 grant for the last several years, and a catholic school in Bogota, San Pablo Apostol, has received funds, as well. Generally, the couple don't give outside of Boston.
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 Ragons recently became the fourth couple in Massachusetts to sign the Giving Pledge, so expect plenty more money to move out the door and for global development to receive continuing attention from the couple. 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