NET WORTH: $1.81 billion
SOURCE of WEALTH: InterSystems
FUNDING AREAS: Health (AIDS Research), Boston Community
OVERVIEW: Aside from the major contribution he’s made toward AIDS research, he's also active in the Boston community. Ragon and his wife set up the Phillip and Susan Ragon Foundation in 2005, which donated around $360,000 and $6.6 million in recent years. However, that jump is mostly due to a $6 million grant to MIT, his alma mater. Most donations generally are in the $10,000-$25,000 range, with sums rarely exceeding $50,000. The good news, however, is that once a non-profit becomes a grantee, they often receive funding for multiple years.
BACKGROUND: 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. He tends to keep a very low profile, so it's hard to know too much about his philanthropy.
HEALTH: In 2009, Ragon 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, he’d 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.
HUMAN RIGHTS: The Ragons have given a donation of $25,000 to Amnesty International each of the last several years.
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.
LOOKING FORWARD: With the recent changes to health care law and the push to digitize health records, Ragon’s business is well-positioned for some major expansion, which could mean a sizeable increase in Ragon’s fortune in the coming years. He’s already spent a lot of AIDS research, so the next logical step may be grassroots programs oriented toward awareness, prevention, early detection and treatment.
Cambridge, MA 02238