NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Goldman Sachs, Red Mountain Capital Partners
FUNDING AREAS: Education & Youth, Health & Human Services, Arts & Culture, Policy, Aspen Community
OVERVIEW: T. Willem Mesdag and his wife Lisa move their philanthropy through the Mesdag Family Foundation, which has given around $600,000 annually in recent years. The Mesdags have supported their alma maters Northwestern and Princeton. They've also bankrolled health and human services, the arts, and policy, among other areas. The Mesdags' philanthropy is centered around Los Angeles, with grants also going to other regions where they have personal connections.
BACKGROUND: Raised in South Dakota and Illinois, T. Willem Mesdag received a B.A. from Northwestern University in 1974, and a J.D. from Cornell Law School in 1978. Mesdag worked at Goldman Sachs for years, serving as partner and head of the firm's Los Angeles office. In 2005, he founded Red Mountain Capital Partners in Los Angeles, which invests in small cap public companies with a private equity approach.
EDUCATION & YOUTH: Mesdag and Lisa, through their foundation, have recently supported Mesdag's alma mater, Northwestern and Lisa's school, Princeton. They've also recently funded education outfits such as City Year, Harvard Westlake School, California State University, and ACES (Aspen Center for Environmental Studies) Children's Education Fund, which "works with regional schools and youth groups to provide environmental education." The couple supported youth outfits such as Books for Kids; note that Lisa has a degree in English and worked as a journalist.
HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES: Recent health grantees include International Medical Corps and Ovarian Cancer Institute. The couple has also funded the Rape Foundation, based in Santa Monica, California.
ARTS & CULTURE: Mesdag was formerly president of the board of trustees of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles—another sign of couple's committment to the arts and the Los Angeles area. Recent grantees include the Los Angeles Opera Company, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, and the Huntington Library. Another important region of interest is Aspen, where the couple has supported Theatre Aspen and Music Associates of Aspen.
POLICY: Mesdag serves on the board of the Pacific Council on International Policy. The couple has steadily supported the Aspen Institute, an international nonprofit organization, and the Los Angeles-based Pacific Council on International Policy. Other backing has gone to the Council on Foreign Relations, Human Rights Watch, and the Milken Institute, an "independent economic think tank whose mission is to improve the lives and economic conditions of people in the U.S. and around the world."
ASPEN COMMUNITY: Recent grantees include Aspen Valley Land Trust, and Aspen Center for Environmental Studies.
LOOKING FORWARD: Expect the Mesdags' philanthropy to stick close to Los Angeles and other areas where the couple has personal connections.
The Mesdag Family Foundation does not provide a clear avenue of contact, but below is an address: