Mike and Lisa Vranos

NET WORTH: Unknown 

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Ellington Management Group

FUNDING AREAS: Education & Youth, Health, Human Services, Global 

OVERVIEW: Mike Vranos and family move their philanthropy through the Vranos Family Foundation, which gave away around $3.6 million recently. The family's giving focuses on the Northeast, particularly Connecticut. Vranos has given some of his largest sums to Harvard in support of stem cell and life sciences research. 

BACKGROUND: Raised in Ellington, Connecticut, Michael W. Vranos began his Wall Street career in 1983, after graduating from Harvard University. Vranos was the senior managing director of Kidder Peabody in charge of RMBS trading. In 1994 he founded Ellington Management Group, an investment and advisory firm based in Old Greenwich, Connecticut, where he serves as CEO. 

ISSUES:

EDUCATION & YOUTH: Vranos has strongly supported his alma mater Harvard. Much of this work has revolved around the life sciences and the family via their foundation steadily helps fund stem cell research at Harvard. As Vranos puts it, "Most of our giving has been directed to the life sciences, because I believe this area of research will have the most direct impact on helping humanity in the future, possibly more so than other physical sciences." Through the years, the Vranoses have established the Michael and Anna Vranos Graduate Fellowship Fund in the Life Sciences, the Vranos Family Junior Faculty Development Fund for Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, and the Vranos Family Graduate Research Fellowship in Developmental and Regenerative Biology.

Away from Harvard, the family has also supported The UConn Foundation, and Dartmouth College.

On the K-12 front, the Vranos family has strongly supported Chicago Hope Academy, Hopkins School, and Boys & Girls Harbor, where Vranos sits on the board of directors. Other grantees have included Adam J. Lewis Preschool, East Harlem Tutorial Program, Teach for America, Squash Haven, Waterside School, and Ellington Community Scholarship Association. 

HEALTH: Apart from the life sciences research that the Vranoses help fund at Harvard, another interest appears to be brain/neurological and behavioral disorders. Vranos Family Foundation grantees have included ALS Association, Autism Speaks, INSPIRE for Autism, and NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. 

HUMAN SERVICES: Vranos sits on the board of Hedge Funds Care, and the Stamford Shelter for the Homeless, which the family has supported. Other grantees include City Harvest, Bridgeport Rescue Mission, CT Food Bank, and CT Prize, a social venture competition targeting poverty problems.

GLOBAL: A component of this family's philanthropy involves international organizations like Doctors Without Borders, buildON, Heifer International, Refugees International, and Smile Train. 

LOOKING FORWARD: The Vranos family's life sciences work at Harvard should be watched carefully. Perhaps other stem cell research away from Vranos' alma mater will be more robustly supported down the line. 

CONTACT:

The Vranos Family Foundation does not provide a clear avenue for getting in touch with the family but below is an address:

The Vranos Family Foundation

53 Forest Ave., 2nd Fl.

Old Greenwich, CT 06870

LINK:

Ellington Management Group