NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Renaissance Technologies, Co-CEO
FUNDING AREAS: Higher Education, STEM Education, Health
OVERVIEW: Peter F. Brown and his wife Margaret Ann Hamburg channel much of their philanthropy through their Quetzal Trust. The full scope of the couple's giving is unclear, as they have pumped millions into a donor advised fund at Fidelity Charitable Giving Fund of late, but Brown, a graduate of Harvard and Carnegie Mellon, has been a funder of higher education, STEM education, and health. It is worth noting that Margaret is a prominent physician who recently resigned as FDA commissioner.
BACKGROUND: Peter F. Brown got his B.A. in mathematics from Harvard and his Ph.D. in computer science from Carnegie Mellon. Brown was a member of the research staff at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center from 1984 to 1993. In 1993, he joined James Simons' Renaissance Technologies along with IBM coworker Robert Mercer. Now Brown and Mercer serve as co-CEOs of Renaissance. Brown's current net worth is unknown but Forbes magazine estimated that he and Mercer earned about $125 million each in 2011 alone.
HIGHER EDUCATION: Brown attended Harvard and Margaret attended Radcliffe College, which is now part of Harvard. The Harvard College Fund received $500,000 from the couple in 2011, and more modest sums went to Harvard Medical School. The couple has also supported Yale, Carnegie Mellon, the National Academy of Engineering Fund, and SUNY Stony Brook. SUNY Stony Brook is in close proximity to Renaissance, and James Simons once taught there.
STEM EDUCATION: Given Brown's background, it is no surprise that he has been a steady funder of James Simon's Math for America, a nonprofit whose mission is to improve mathematics education in United States public schools by recruiting, training, and retaining highly qualified secondary school mathematics teachers. Support has also gone to the World Science Festival. Outside of STEM education, Brown and Hamburg have supported Sidwell Friends School, and Choate Rosemary Hall. Like Mercer, Brown has also supported the American Museum of Natural History.
HEALTH: Considering Margaret's prominent role in health, the pair’s giving in this area has not been overwhelming. Recently, they have shown modest support for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Harvard Medical School.
LOOKING FORWARD: The Quetzal Trust did around $7.1 million in total grantmaking in 2013 and $7 million went to Fidelity Charitable. In 2012, meanwhile, $1 million went to Fidelity Charitable out of a total $3.6 million. As a result, assessing the couple's recent interests is rather difficult. In years prior to 2010, their philanthropy was more transparent, with a dozen or so outfits receiving funds. The couple has shown some interest in more global causes such as supporting Doctors Without Borders and Save the Children.
The trust has no website and there is no clear way to seek support, but an address is below.
The Quetzal Trust
P.O. Box 39337
Washington, DC 20016