NET WORTH: $1.6 billion
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Cofounder of King Street Capital Management
FUNDING AREAS: Education, Community Development, Health, NYC Community
OVERVIEW: Brian Higgins conducts his philanthropy through the King Street Charitable Trust, where he and his business partner, O. Francis Biondi, are listed as trustees. As a result of this pairing, the charity has quite a few interests, with certain grantees representative of a Higgins tie or interest, and certain grantees representative of a Biondi interest. Overall, the young King Street Charitable Trust, which was established in 2004, has interests in education, health, supporting youth, and more. A big winner so far is Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ), the Harlem-based community development outfit which supports youth and their families.
BACKGROUND: Brian Higgins attended Villanova University where he received a B.S. in business administration. He joined First Boston in 1987 in its merchant banking group, where he worked on leveraged buyouts, bridge loans and recapitalizations, before joining its high-yield desk. Higgins met his business partner, O. Francis Biondi while working at First Boston and in 1995, the pair co-founded King Street Capital Management, which has $20 billion assets under management.
EDUCATION: Higgins has been a steady supporter of his alma mater, Villanova University, and Biondi's alma mater, Yale University. He has also Columbia University, Princeton, and Amherst, where Biondi’s wife Jamie Nicholls went to college. Meanwhile, on the K-12 education front, King Street Charitable Trust recently supported East Harlem School, Harlem Village Academies, the Inner-City Scholarship Fund, and Turnaround for Children, a nonprofit that partners with public schools to address the obstacles to teaching and learning that stem from poverty. Recently, he has also given to several private schools such as Riverdale Country School in the Bronx, the Chapin School in Manhattan, and St Anne's-Belfield School in Charlottesville, Virginia, where there is a King Street Capital office.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT: Higgins sits on the board of Harlem Children's Zone, which has received at least $2 million over the last three tax years available. He has also shown support for the Robin Hood Foundation, the New York City anti poverty outfit, and Domestic Shelters and Services.
HEALTH: The King Street Charitable Trust's grantmaking steadily supports New York Presbyterian Hospital. Other grantees have included Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, St. Jude’s Children's Research Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation, NYU Langone Medical Center, Melanoma Research Alliance, Mount Sinai, the American Cancer Society, North Shore - LIJ Health System, and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, an outfit which researches cancer, neuroscience, plant biology and more. While a lot of different outfits have been funded, cancer seems to be one through-line. The Cold Spring Harbor connection here appears to be Jamie, Biondi's wife, who chairs the board of trustees.
NYC COMMUNITY: Despite sites of philanthropy in Charlottesville, Virginia, and elsewhere, most of Higgins's philanthropy takes place in New York City, where outfits such as the 92nd Street Y, the Ronald McDonald House of New York City, Boys Hope Girls Hope NY, the New York City Police Foundation, the New York City Ballet, New York Historical Society, and more have been funded. While King Street's philanthropy does involve gifts exceeding $1 million and several in the $100,000 range, there are also quite a few annual grants under $10,000.
LOOKING AHEAD: King Street's philanthropy has really ramped up in recent years. The list of annual grantees appears to be getting longer as well. The young billionaires, Higgins and Biondi, are likely to give even more in the future.
King Street Charitable Trust doesn't provide a clear avenue for grant seekers to get in touch, but an address is listed below
The King Street Charitable Trust
65 E. 55th St., 30th Fl.
New York, NY 10022