NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Brinson Partners
FUNDING AREAS: Education, Scientific Research
OVERVIEW: Gary Brinson established the Brinson Foundation when he retired, and grantmaking kicked off in 2001. Grantmaking priorities are education, and scientific research. Within these focus areas, the foundation keys in on such areas as literacy, STEM, physical sciences, and medical research. The foundation has a strong web presence and clear grantmaking guidelines.
BACKGROUND: Gary P. Brinson received a bachelor's degree in finance from Seattle University, and an MBA from Washington State University. Brinson joined First National Bank of Chicago as the Chief Investment Officer in 1979. He founded and was president and CEO of Brinson Partners Inc. (now UBS Global Asset Management). Before retiring in 2000, he was considered to be one of the world’s most influential investment managers, and he managed over $1 trillion in assets at one point.
EDUCATION: In a recent year, the Brinson Foundation's education grantmaking totaled 61 grants, 45 percent of the foundation's overall work. The foundation's grants fall into seven areas: financial literacy; health care career development; high school, college, and career success; Liberty, citizenship, and free enterprise; Literacy; STEM; and Student Health. The Brinson Foundation's education grants are typically made to organizations that serve individuals and communities in the Chicago area. A sampling of grantees includes A Better Chicago, Advance Illinois, Illinois Institute of Technology, Jack Miller Center for Teaching America’s Founding Principles and History, Moneythink, and Citizen Schools – Chicago.
SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH: Scientific research grants made up 15.3 percent of the foundation's total grantmaking in a recent year. The foundation states that it is "interested in programs on the cutting edge of research in specific areas of interest to our Directors that are under-funded or not yet eligible for funding by governmental programs." Brinson Foundation focuses on the physical sciences (astrophysics, cosmology, evolutionary developmental biology, geophysics), as well as medical research. Grantees have included California Institute of Technology to support theoretical gravitational wave research; Carnegie Institution for Science to support volcano seismology monitoring research; and to support the Brinson Fellowship Program at The University of Chicago.
OTHER: Apart from these two grantmaking categories, the Brinson Foundation also makes "Endorsement Grants" and grants that are of interest to its board. Endorsement grants often involve "ongoing core support of the institution." Recent grants in this area included support of arts and cultural institutions in Chicago.
LOOKING FORWARD: In a statement from Brinson, he said, "the Brinson Foundation has been funded to date with approximately $100 million and is likely to receive considerable future funding." This spells good news for grantseekers, particularly those working within Brinson's well-established interest areas.