NET WORTH: $5.7 billion
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Franklin Resources, mutual funds and investment
FUNDING AREAS: Education, health, arts and culture, and community
OVERVIEW: Charles Johnson primarily supports education institutions where he has a personal connection. He's also a major supporter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research center and makes many smaller donations to community and cultural institutions and health-related organizations.
BACKGROUND: Charles Johnson Jr. recently retired as chairman of the mutual fund and investment giant Franklin Resources, which was started by his father and where his brother Rupert serves as vice chairman and his son Gregory is chairman, president, and CEO. Johnson attended Yale and is a former Army lieutenant, and he is the largest owner of the San Francisco Giants, with a more than 25% share. Along with his wife, he founded the Charles and Ann Johnson Foundation in 1987. In 2013, just over $13 million went out the door.
EDUCATION: Johnson made headlines in 2013 when it was announced that the alumnus had pledged the single largest gift in Yale's history, $250 million, in support of two new residential colleges that will allow Yale to admit 15% more students each year. Having previously made several substantial gifts to Yale, including one to establish the Johnson Center for the Study of American Diplomacy, Johnson was already among the university's most generous donors.
Johnson has made gifts of more than $1 million to several other educational institutions, including Stanford, St. Lawrence, the California Academy of Sciences, and the Ethel Welker School in Connecticut. His overall position on education is mixed, however, as he was also the single largest donor to groups campaigning against Prop 30 in California, a ballot initiative that increased the state sales tax and taxes on the super wealthy to support education. It ultimately passed by an 11-point margin.
HEALTH: Johnson's largest contribution to health-related causes has probably been to the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford, where his lead donation helped create the Charles B. and Ann L. Johnson Center for Pregnancy and Newborn Services. He has been a major supporter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation as well, donating more than $1.5 million. He has made smaller contributions to other health facilities and organizations that address issues such as arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
COMMUNITY: Over the years, Johnson has supported a number of major community organizations, including the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Best Buddies International, and the Magic Johnson Foundation. Many of these gifts are directed toward community building in his home of San Francisco, though some are for overall infrastructure and others have gone to other communities, most notably a half-million-dollar contribution to the Salvation Army of Augusta, Georgia.
CULTURE: Through his foundation, Johnson has made contributions to numerous museums throughout the country. The California Academy of Sciences Museum in San Francisco has been the primary benefactor, but he's also made contributions to places such as the Fine Art Museum of San Francisco, the San Francisco Opera, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the American Museum of Natural History in New York. He is a supporter of the New York Botanical Gardens, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach.
LOOKING FORWARD: While Johnson's recent contribution of $250 million to Yale puts him on the list of 2013's top philanthropists, don't necessarily look for Johnson to remain there. Although his giving to select education institutions has been strong, there's still a lot of room for him to grow in supporting education more broadly and in the various health, community, and cultural areas where he has shown support but limited himself to relatively small contributions. There are reasons to believe that Johnson's giving may accelerate, though. Like many wealthy individuals who are recently retired, he may find that the time he used to spend working is increasingly replaced by the pursuit of philanthropic endeavors. In his 80s, he also may realize that his wealth gives him an incredible opportunity, but that he has only a limited amount of time to make an impact on the causes he cares about.