NET WORTH: $200 million estimated
SOURCE of WEALTH: Cofounder, Bain Capital
FUNDING AREAS: Mormon church, health, education
OVERVIEW: Before Romney was a politician, he was the successful businessman and cofounder of Bain Capital, where he made most of his money. Romney's Mormon faith is well known. He tithes regularly to the Mormon church and has donated to his alma mater, BYU, which is owned by the LDS Church. Around $1.7 million went to the LDS church alone in 2010. Romney and his wife Ann also run the Tyler Foundation, which recently changed its name to The Romney Foundation for Children. The outfit gives away hundreds of thousands annually, mainly to health and education causes.
BACKGROUND: Mitt Romney was born in Detroit, and raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Romney attended Cranbrook School before receiving his undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University in 1971. He later attended Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School, and received both a J.D. and MBA in 1975. After graduating, Romney worked at Bain & Company and later served as CEO. In 1984, he cofounded a spinoff company called Bain Capital in Boston. He became governor of Massachusetts in 2003, before then making two unsuccessful bids at the presidency in 2008 and 2012. Romney is also deeply involved with the Mormon church, and tithes to the LDS Church regularly.
MORMON CHURCH: Nearly $5 million went to the LDS Church between 2000 and 2012, a combination of private donations and also donations through Romney's charitable foundation. During this same time period, at least half a million has gone to BYU. It's worth noting that as a Mormon, Romney is expected pay a tithe, or 10 percent of his annual income, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Romney has also publicly stated that his inheritance from his father was donated to the BYU Marriott School of Management’s Institute of Public Management, which now bears his father's name.
HEALTH: In part because of Romney's wife, Ann, health is another big interest of the family. Ann has suffered from multiple sclerosis for at least 15 years and helped the Boston-area Brigham and Women’s Hospital launch a $50 million fundraising campaign to establish the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases, though it's unclear how much the couple gave personally. In recent years, the Romney Foundation for Children has funded the Alliance for Lupus Research, Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, National MS Society, and Huntington’s Disease Society of America, generally under $50,000 annually. Unsurprisingly, multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases appear to be a priority. Children's health also appears to be a growing interest, and the foundation has supported Miami Children’s Hospital, an international outfit called Operation Kids, and Center for Treatment of Pediatric MS.
EDUCATION: Between 2000 and 2012, City Year has received at least $65,000. Romney has also supported his undergraduate and graduate alma maters, BYU and Harvard Business School, as well as Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. Not only did Romney attend BYU, his five sons did as well.
LOOKING FORWARD: When the dust settled after Romney's 2012 presidential loss, he announced the renaming of his foundation to the Romney Foundation for Children with the intention of helping "the very poorest kids on the world." Look for children's advocacy groups, particularly those focused on health and poverty, to be a focus. It's also possible that his home state of Michigan, specifically the area around Detroit, becomes a target for funding. Expect the Mormon church and multiple sclerosis health research to continue being top priorities as well.
The Romney Foundation for Children
137 Newbury St.
Boston, MA United States 02116