Duncan and Ellen McFarland

NET WORTH: Unknown

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Wellington Management Company, former chairman and CEO

FUNDING AREAS: Environment & Animals, Education, Human Services & Boston Community, Health, Global

OVERVIEW: Duncan McFarland and his wife Ellen move their philanthropy through the Bromley Charitable Trust. The couple is deep into land conservation, as well as supporting wild animals, particularly jaguars. The couple recently committed $1 million to Panthera and Rainforest Trust to protect a ranch in a part of Brazil that’s home to a high-density jaguar population. The McFarlands also earmark sums for education, human services, and more.

BACKGROUND: Duncan McFarland received a bachelor's degree in economics from Yale in 1965. He then joined Wellington Management Company, a privately-owned global investment management firm where he worked for some four decades. McFarland served as chairman and CEO from 1994 until his retirement in 2004. The McFarlands live outside Boston. 


ENVIRONMENT & ANIMALS: The McFarlands are passionate supporters of the environment and of animals. Duncan sits on the board of Panthera, "the only organization in the world that is devoted exclusively to the conservation of the world’s 38 wild cat species and their ecosystems." The couple recently committed $1 million to Panthera and Rainforest Trust to protect a ranch in a part of Brazil that’s home to a high-density jaguar population. McFarland is also on the board of Rare, a conservation outfit that he's supported since 2008. According to the most recent tax records, the foundation gave Rare close to $210,000. The McFarland's charity has also given recent grants to outfits such as Center for Tropical Forest Science, Conservation Land Trust, Land Trust Alliance, Northeast Wildness Trust, Blithewold Mansion Gardens and Arboretum in Rhode Island, Tropical Rainforest Initiative, and Mount Grace Land Conservation, the recent recipient of a $100,000 matching grant.

Land conservation is heavily featured in this grantmaking. The couple has funded Hale Reservation, whose mission is to "offer educational and recreational opportunities that develop self-confidence, inspire a passion for learning, and encourage an appreciation for the natural environment," the Marion Institute, a "nonprofit that acts as an incubator for a diverse array of programs and projects that delve into the root cause of an issue and seeks to create deep and positive change", and a spinoff effort called Round the Bend Farm "a living laboratory that cultivates, educates, and empowers change agents." These efforts reveal the couple's interest in environmental education, as well.

EDUCATION: Recent Bromley Charitable Trust education grantees include Beacon Academy, Colby College, Bridge Boston Charter School (which received $500,000 in the most recent fiscal year available), and Wellington Management Foundation, which "gives annual grants and catalyst gifts to programs in our communities that improve the educational opportunities of economically disadvantaged youth." McFarland and Ellen also gave William Penn Charter School $4 million in 2013. McFarland attended the school.

HUMAN SERVICES & BOSTON COMMUNITY: McFarland is a director of New Profit, a venture philanthropy fund in Boston that focuses on increasing opportunities for mobility. New Profit has received close to $900,000 from the couple via Bromley in the two most recent years of tax records. The couple has also recently funded Greater Boston Food Bank, the Boston Foundation, antipoverty outfit LIFT, and SPAN, which "assists people who have been in prison to achieve their full potential for healthy, productive, and meaningful lives." Other support has gone to Marin Community Foundation in California. 

HEALTH: Recent grantees include Peer Health Exchange, Health Leads, and National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

GLOBAL: International grantees include Aseema Charitable Trust, which provides "holistic and relevant education to Mumbai’s most neglected children – children living on the streets, or in slums and in inhuman conditions," Japan America Refugee Network, and Taktse International School in India. Bromley's handful of arts and culture grants of late have gone to outfits such as Cambodian Living Arts and Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association. 

LOOKING FORWARD: The couple's charitable vehicle has given away a few million annually, in recent years. It's unclear how much money the couple has to work with, but expect their interest areas to hold. Their conservation efforts in particuar should be watched carefully.


The Bromley Charitable Trust does not encourage unsolicited proposals and seeks out organizations with which to partner. Below, however, is an address:

The Bromley Charitable Trust
299 Clapboardtree St.
Westwood, MA 02090