Jonathon and Joanna Jacobson

NET WORTH: Unknown

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Founder of Highfields Capital Management

FUNDING AREAS: Education & Youth, Jewish Causes, Health

OVERVIEW: Jonathon Jacobson and his wife Joanna conduct their philanthropic contributions through the One8 Foundation, formerly known as the Jacobson Family Trust Foundation. The foundation has held nearly half a billion in assets in recent years, giving away upwards of $27 million in a year. Jacobson is a strong funder of Jewish outfits such as Birthright Israel, with health, education, and supporting the Boston community being other interests. 

BACKGROUND: Jonathon Jacobson graduated with a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He served as a senior equity portfolio manager of Harvard Management Co, and vice president of Equity Arbitrage Group at Shearson Lehman Brothers in New York. He cofounded Highfields Capital Management, L.P.


EDUCATION & YOUTH: Jacobson is a major funder of Youth Villages, a Memphis-headquartered nonprofit with Massachusetts locations that runs a host of programs in support of at-risk youth. Joanna sits on the board of Youth Villages, which has received millions from the couple. Other major grantees in this space include Year Up and City Year. Joanna also sits on the board of Edward Brooke Charter Management, a group of charter schools in the Boston area. They have also supported Unlocking Potential, now known as the UP Education Network, a network of tuition-free public elementary and middle schools in Massachusetts. Another charter the couple has supported is Boston Bridge.

The Jacobsons are also steady supporters of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston. In higher education, Jacobson and Joanna are major supporters of Brandeis University. They have also supported their alma maters — Harvard and UPenn.

JEWISH CAUSES: Jacobson is a strong supporter of the Jewish community, and the foundation's website states that its aim is to "bolster the success of nonprofit organizations with the highest potential to achieve breakthrough results on some of the most pressing problems facing the United States and the Jewish people." Recently, significant sums have gone to outfits like the American Israel Education Foundation, the Birthright Israel Foundation, and Combined Jewish Philanthropies.

HEALTH: Recent assorted sums have gone to Brigham and Women's Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and NYU Langone Medical Center, and the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, among others.

OTHER: A steady stream of money has flowed from the One8 Foundation to Strategic Grant Partners (SGP), which Joanna founded and for which she currently serves as managing partner. SGP is both a foundation and a pro bono consulting firm. The outfit partners with grantees to "provide the capital they need to realize their potential and the support to strategize, implement and troubleshoot." The foundation says it takes a strategic approach to its philanthropy. Billionaire Seth Klarman is one prominent Boston philanthropist who has worked with SGP. 

LOOKING AHEAD: Jacobson's philanthropy so far has focused on Boston and its surrounding communities. While he and his wife are active, sophisticated donors who have already set aside significant funds for philanthropy, it's unclear how much wealth is waiting in the wings here and may one day go out the door. 


The one8 Foundation does not have a clear avenue for approaching the couple for support, but does list contact information on its website.