Clifford and Laurel Asness

NET WORTH: $3 billion

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Cofounder, Managing Principal & Chief Investment Officer, AQR Capital Management

FUNDING AREAS: Human Services, Education, Health

OVERVIEW: Clifford Asness and his wife Laurel have given generously to International Rescue Committee. The couple's philanthropy also involves education, health, and the environment. Asness was trustee at the conservative policy outfit the Manhattan Institute. Asness is right of center, but in 2011, along with other hedge fund managers, backed a push to legalize gay marriage. He also wrote a piece for the American Enterprise Institute criticizing his fellow Republicans for not addressing the issue of civil rights more forcefully. The couple doesn't appear to have a charitable vehicle yet.

BACKGROUND: Born in Queens, New York, Asness graduated with bachelor's degrees in computer science and finance from the University of Pennsylvania. He received a Ph.D. in financial economics and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago. He was Eugene Fama’s student and teaching assistant for two years and his dissertation asserted that consistent market-beating profits were attainable by exploiting both value and momentum. Prior to cofounding AQR Capital Management, he was a managing director and director of quantitative research for the Asset Management Division of Goldman Sachs. AQR has 24 principals and more than 500 employees, and is based Greenwich, Connecticut. AQR has over $130 billion in assets under management.

ISSUES:

HUMANITARIAN: Asness and Laurel are major supporters of International Rescue Committee. The couple started supporting the outfit in 2005 and Asness became a member of the board in 2009. The couple was recently honored with a Humanitarian Leadership award for their support. More modest sums have recently gone to United Way in Greenwich, and Camba, a nonprofit that "provides services that connect people with opportunities to enhance their quality of life."

HEALTH: The couple has supported outfits like Saint Barnabas Health Care System, Yale New Haven Health Services, and New York Presbyterian. The couple has also supported an interesting outfit in Cambridge, Mass. called Primary Care Progress, whose donors include conservative funders like Seth Klarman and Roger Hertog. Primary Care Progress describes itself as a "nonprofit working to revitalize our primary care system and address the national shortage of primary care providers and leaders." It's worth noting that Asness' mother ran a medical education firm.

EDUCATION: Asness has given modestly to his alma maters University of Chicago and UPenn, and has recently donated $15 million to the London Business School. The couple has also supported Teach for America.

OTHER: Asness has given modestly to environmental outfits such as Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the Yellowstone Park Foundation. 

LOOKING AHEAD: Asness is only in his late 40s, so his giving might scale up later. One area to watch is health care, given his mother's background, as well as the environment. Asness has controversially weighed in on global warming in the past. As a scholarly man who's involved with the Manhattan Institute, Asness's forays into policy should be watched as well.