NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Frank Russell Company
FUNDING AREAS: Environment, Community Development, Puget Sound Community
OVERVIEW: George Russell and family conduct their philanthropy through the Russell Family Foundation, which primarily focuses on the Puget Sound region of the Pacific Northwest.
BACKGROUND: A Tacoma native, George F. Russell Jr. graduated from Stanford and received an MBA from Harvard Business School. Russell built Frank Russell Company into one of the world’s leading investment advisory firms. He served as chairman from 1958 until the firm was sold to Northwestern Mutual Life in 1999.
RUSSELL FAMILY FOUNDATION: In 1999, George Russell and his late wife Jane sold Frank Russell Company to Northwestern Mutual Life. The couple founded the Russell Family Foundation (TRFF) with part of the sale proceeds, providing a way for their extended family to make an impact on their community. TRFF has an extensive website and a paid staff. It runs several programs and is highly focused on the Puget Sound region, particularly south Puget Sound and Pierce County. One program, Jane’s Fellowship, honors the late Jane T. Russell by supporting grassroots leaders in Tacoma and Pierce County.
Other programs include TRFF’s Environmental Education program, which supports organizations that deliver outdoor learning experiences to students in 5th through 12th grade in urban areas.
Other grantees have included American Red Cross Mount Rainier Chapter, American Rivers (towards a Puget Sound effort), Bonneville Environmental Foundation, Communities in Schools of Peninsula, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, Museum of Glass, United Way of Pierce County, and Latino Community Fund of Washington.
OTHER: George Russell is also interested in global issues. He was chairman of the EastWest Institute, where he spearheaded a project called “Reframing Perceptions of Islam and Muslims in America.” He founded One Chicago, One Nation, a project working to change the perceptions of Islam and Muslims in America. He has also been interested in the destruction of nuclear waste, strengthened U.S.-Russia relations, and humanitarian aid.
LOOKING FORWARD: Expect Russell and family to remain particularly interested in Washington State.