Founder of one of the largest hedge funds in Boston and in the world, Seth Klarman and his firm are doing quite well. Klarman is an interesting guy. Quiet and eschewing the spotlight, he penned a legendary book back in the 1990s on risk-adverse investing that still sells new on Amazon for nearly $3,000. What's more, Klarman's firm Baupost Group is known for keeping lots of its assets in cash.
Quirks or no quirks, Klarman's got $1.47 billion to his name and his firm has grown to manage more than $26 billion. His philanthropy is on the ascent as well. Consider that when Klarman founded his family foundation back in 1991, it had $145 million in assets, and was giving away around $14 million a year. Now it's got nearly $450 million in assets as of 2013 tax records.
However, Klarman isn't yet gifting his money out on a national level, nor is he giving in a wide variety of areas. No, Klarman's giving is very local -- the Boston area to be specific -- where he got his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and lives in Boston's suburbs. Moreover, the majority of grantmaking done by the Klarman Family Foundation has been in medical research (particularly in the area of behavioral health), Jewish causes and music education.
In 2013, Klarman Family Foundation gave $100,000 to Boston Ballet, $112,500 to Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras and $125,000 to Berklee College of Music. Recent sums have also gone to Boston Jewish Music Festival, and Boston Lyric Opera Company, among others.
Klarman's grantmaking also has supported music education programs that serve as ways to improve overall outcomes for at-risk students. For instance, Klarman has been a supporter of From the Top, a non-profit organization that helps empower young people through music. In 2013, a $37,500 grant went to Artists for Humanity Boston which describes itself as a "place for teens to... explore and express their creative abilities." He's also supported Boston After School & Beyond, a nonprofit intermediary that describes itself as creating partnerships between Boston public schools, the city government and funders.
Klarman's wife Beth, who also serves as President of the Klarman Family Foundation, is on the arts advisory board for EdVestors, an advocacy group that runs an arts based school initiative for Boston's public schools. In 2011, EdVestors received $350,000 from Klarman.
The Klarmans are Giving Pledge signatories, which means that he and his wife will likely give away most of their money in their lifetimes. Klarman is still a young 58 which means we can probably expect a lot more from him in the coming years. We'll keep an eye out.