Richard Rainwater


SOURCE OF WEALTH: Asset management, Bass Enterprises; Independent investments

FUNDING AREAS: Health, education, South Carolina & Fort Worth, Texas community

OVERVIEW: Before his death, Rainwater's philanthropy focused on neurodegenerative disease. Rainwater suffered from a rare disorder called progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). In response, he bankrolled the Tau Consortium, a team of the leading physicians and researchers working to find a cure for the disease. Rainwater also was a strong supporter of education, particularly early childhood education. Finally, community efforts in Fort Worth, Texas, where Rainwater spent much of his life, and South Carolina, where his widow Darla is from, have also received support. 

BACKGROUND: Richard Rainwater grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, and attended the University of Texas, graduating with a mathematics degree. He went on to get an an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business. After graduating, he worked as an investment banker, but soon accepted an invitation from former Stanford classmate Sid Bass to manage and diversify the Bass family portfolio. During his tenure, Rainwater was responsible for numerous major corporate and real estate acquisitions and dispositions, and significantly increased the Bass family’s overall wealth. 

After leaving Bass Enterprises in 1986, he became an independent investor and founded firms such as ENSCO International, Columbia Hospital Corporation, Mid Ocean Limited, and Crescent Real Estate Equities. In 2009, Rainwater was diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), a neurodegenerative brain disease that has no known cause, treatment, or cure.

The Rainwater Charitable Foundation was established in 1991.


HEALTH: Rainwater assembled a team of the leading physicians and researchers from around the world and charged them with working together to find a cure for PSP. This group of over thirty principal investigators is called the Tau Consortium. While PSP is a priority, the research has implications for other degenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's. Rainwater also gave to the University of Texas Science Center Foundation to support Alzheimer's research, as well as the Association for Frontotemporal Dementia.

EDUCATION: In life, Rainwater also focused on early childhood education and school leadership development programs. In recent years, at least $3 million went to Teach for America. Rainwater also supported KIPP, Harlem Children's Zone, and Zero to Five Funders Collaborative. In higher education, George Washington University School of Business recently received at least $500,000 in 2013 and Darla gave $5 million to University of South Carolina to fund an aerospace research center in 2011. University of South Carolina is also home to the Darla Moore School of Business. 

COMMUNITY: Rainwater was also involved in economic development and educational programs in Fort Worth, where he lived, and in South Carolina, where Darla resides. In Fort Worth, hundreds of thousands have gone to Real School Gardens, supporting garden programs at schools. Early childhood education collaboratives in Forth Worth have also been supported. In South Carolina, Palmetto Institute, an outfit that supports regional economic development has seen funds.

LOOKING FORWARD:  With Rainwater's recent death, the future of the family's philanthropy is unclear. While Rainwater has set aside the majority of his wealth for charity, a reported $60 million will go to Darla, who is likely to continue to give in South Carolina. She already has a separate foundation. And in filings related to Rainwater's divorce from his first wife, Rainwater's son Matthew listed assets of more than $50 million.



Rainwater Charitable Foundation

IP's Profile of Rainwater's Texas Giving