NET WORTH: $2.5 billion
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Lone Pine Capital
FUNDING AREAS: Education, Environment, NYC & CT Communities
OVERVIEW: Mandel is heavily involved in education and community support in Connecticut and New York, where he lives and works, though he is also involved in education nationally as a member of the National Board of Directors for Teach for America. He has recently launched a fellowship program for public policy work, and become more active in supporting environmental causes.
BACKGROUND: Stephen Mandel graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy, Dartmouth, and then Harvard Business School before going to work on Wall Street. He worked at Goldman Sachs for about 6 years, and later at Julian Robertson’s Tiger Management before founding Lone Pine Capital in 1997. Since becoming a billionaire, he has launched two foundations.
EDUCATION: In addition to being on the National Board of Directors for Teach for America, where he has contributed tens of millions, Mandel has been a major supporter of his alma mater, and was the chairman of the Dartmouth board of trustees. Apart from that, he supports a range of educational programs, backing a number of different charter schools, and several development and tutorial programs that focus on everything from dropout prevention to helping kids get into college. He’s given several hundred thousand each to NYC and CT based organizations such as Building Educated Leaders for Life, Comprehensive Development, East Harlem Tutorial Program, and REACH Prep. He has also offered support to smaller organizations such as the Computers for Youth Foundation and the DreamYard Drama Project, which have received grants in the $5,000 range. He’s made several major contributions to Outward Bound NY and other organizations that give inner city kids a chance to experience the outdoors.
ENVIRONMENT: Mandel has supported Environmental Defense Fund. Though he hasn't awarded many grants in this area, the environment is one of the two major areas Mandel’s Zoom Foundation is focused on. Climate change is specifically mentioned, and the organization “has made investments in policy change and public awareness efforts that accelerate local and national strategies,” according to its website. Though it does not provide much information, Mandel launched a fellowship program in 2012, where fellows work on high-level policy projects in Connecticut, many of which focus on the environment.
HEALTH: Other than a $1.5 million donation to his local Greenwich Hospital, and the health clinics that are provided by some of the organizations that offer community support in New York and Connecticut, Mandel hasn’t really been too involved in health-related causes. He did make a couple smaller donations to Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, but that has been about the extent of his health giving so far.
NY & CT COMMUNITIES: Mandel is a major supporter of organizations that provide community support services in New York City and Connecticut, and particularly those that serve kids and families. He’s probably given half a million dollars or more to about a dozen such organizations over the past five to ten years, generally through a series of donations that are in the low six figures. The Fairfield County Community Foundation is probably the largest recipient, having received more than $9 million. Other major recipients include the Children’s Aid Society, and the Children’s Village and the Domus Kids Foundation. The programs that these organizations run generally include health centers, job placement, food kitchens, and after-school programs. There are opportunities, too, for organizations that provide more targeted programming, though these generally receive donations of just a few thousand dollars. Organizations that fall into this category include Beat the Streets Wrestling, and several area Boys & Girls Clubs.
TIGER FOUNDATION & FIDELITY CHARITABLE GIFT FUND: Mandel doesn’t just do his giving through the two foundations that he himself has set up; he also gives substantial amounts to other financial sector philanthropists, trusting they will distribute it to worthy causes. He’s supported Julian Robertson’s Tiger Foundation, but it’s his contributions to the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund that are truly staggering. He’s put more than $100 million into this fund over the years, which makes it a bit harder to track the charities he is supporting with this money.
LOOKING FORWARD: While the Zoom Foundation reported nearly $937 million in assets and gave away some $46 million, almost all of that money went to a donor advised fund at Fidelity Charitable, making it hard to track the full scope of this funder's work. He’s also donated to Charities Aid Foundation, an organization that helps charities with their online fundraising, and supports the Fidelity Foundation, which is known for its charitable development, so we may be seeing more efforts to help charities become more effective in how they use their resources. Outside of New York and Connecticut, Lone Pine also operates in London and Hong Kong, so grants for non-profits that focus on education and community support are available there as well.