NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE OF WEALTH: DUNN Capital Management
FUNDING AREAS: Policy (Libertarian), Florida Community
OVERVIEW: William Dunn and his wife Rebecca move their philanthropy through Dunn's Foundation for the Advancement of Right Thinking, an under the radar entity that primarily funds free-market think tanks and advocacy groups including Reason Foundation, and the CATO Institute. The Dunns have also given millions to Chapman University. The foundation does not appear to accept unsolicited proposals.
BACKGROUND: William A. Dunn earned a B.S. in engineering physics from the University of Kansas in 1960 and a doctor of philosophy in theoretical physics from Northwestern University in 1966. After receiving his Ph.D., he held post-doctoral research and faculty positions with the University of California and Pomona College, as well as conducted operations research and systems analysis studies for the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and the Department of Defense. In 1974, Dunn founded DUNN Capital Management, a firm that was among the first to apply computer technology to investment.
LIBERTARIAN POLICY: Dunn's Foundation for the Advancement of Right Thinking has two main focuses: to advocate for free enterprise and market capitalism, and to “reduce the impact of the use or threat of force by coercive organizations (both public and private) against the people of America and the world, principally through education.” Since the start of last decade, the foundation has provided major and ongoing funding to some of the biggest names in libertarianism like the CATO Institute, the Reason Foundation, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and Atlas Society. Other grantees have included the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the Bluegrass Institute, Americans for Limited Government, the Heartland Institute, and the Institute for Humane Studies.
The Dunns are also interested in public interest law firms and gave a $5 million challenge grant to the Institute for Justice in Arlington, Virginia. The initial $5 million for the Bill and Rebecca Dunn Liberty Defense Fund raised another $10 million. Other similar grantees have included the Pacific Legal Foundation and the Landmark Legal Foundation.
Chapman University is also an important site of philanthropy. The couple gave millions to endow a chair honoring the continuing work of Nobel laureate Vernon L. Smith, a Chapman professor of economics and law. Longtime friends Dunn and Smith are both UKansas graduates and it's worth noting that Dunn worked in academia in Southern California for a time.
OTHER: While much of the Dunn couple's work is decidedly partisan, Dunn's Foundation grantees have also included outfits like the Society of the Four Arts, a cultural institution in Palm Beach. Via The Rebecca Walter Dunn Fund of The Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties, the family has also supported organizations like KidSafe Foundation.
Dunn's Foundation for the Advancement of Right Thinking does not provide a clear avenue for getting in touch with the Dunns but below is an address:
309 S.E. Osceola St., Ste. 350