NET WORTH: $3.4 billion
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Real estate investments
FUNDING AREAS: Florida Community, Policy, Jewish Causes, Arts
OVERVIEW: Greene and his wife, Mei Sze Chan, are Giving Pledge signatories, meaning that the majority of their wealth will go to philanthropy. For now, Greene's philanthropy is somewhat hard to track, particularly because the foundation the couple set up does not yet appear to have begun giving in earnest.
BACKGROUND: Jeff Greene is the son of working-class parents from Massachusetts. He worked his way through Johns Hopkins and later traveled the country selling circus tickets to pay for Harvard Business School. He bought his first house as a grad student, renting out rooms and had 18 properties by the time he graduated. Today the bulk of his fortune is in real estate.
FLORIDA COMMUNITY: Greene and Mei Sze founded the Greene School in Palm Beach, "dedicated to empowering high-performing students to be adaptive, confident and productive stewards of an evolving world." Around 80 students attend his pre-k to 8th grade school, which opened in the fall of 2016. The couple both sit on the board of the school.
Greene has also given modest sums to other cultural and civic institutions in South and Central Florida, including given to the Everglades Foundation and the Central Florida YMCA Foundation. Greene and Mei Sze have also hosted a reception of the Palm Beach Police Foundation's Policeman's Ball in their home. Greene sits on the board of the Palm Beach Police Foundation, whose mission includes providing scholarships and grants for police department family members.
POLICY: Greene established the Greene Institute a few years ago, which focuses on inequality, education and health. The Greene Institute’s Closing the Gap Conference, meanwhile, brings together high profile academics and political leaders to discuss the importance of maintaining a skilled middle class.
JEWISH CAUSES: Grantees have included Jewish Federation of Palm Beach. Jewish causes are likely a priority of Greene's, not only because of his Hebrew school teacher mother, but because he himself was a Hebrew school teacher, one of the many jobs he took on while putting himself through school.
ARTS: Greene also appears to have some interest in art, having given steadily in recent years to the Perlman Music Program in New York. The outfit supports young talented string players. Greene and Mei Sze are also honorary chairs at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, though it is unclear whether the couple have supported that outfit financially.
LOOKING FORWARD: Though the couple's family foundation remains opaque, they have ramped up their profile in recent years with a school and the nonprofit Greene Institute. This suggests that education and policy (particularly income inequality) could remain high priorities as the couple's giving ramps up. Another area worth keeping an eye on is health. Greene's father repeatedly fell on hard times and died of a heart attack at age 51. Another factor here is Greene's wife, Mei Sze, a Chinese woman who fled Malaysia to live in Australia. Perhaps some global development philanthropy will occur down the line as well.