Michael Bloomberg was not the only person to become a billionaire through his data and media company, Bloomberg L.P., or the only person from the company to turn seriously to philanthropy. This week, we are taking an in-depth look at the giving of Thomas Secunda, one of the lesser-known co-founders of Bloomberg L.P.
Secunda and Bloomberg were colleagues at Salomon Brothers in the 1970s. In the early 1980s, Bloomberg enlisted Secunda, Duncan MacMillan, and Charles Zegar to help found Innovative Market Systems, which was eventually renamed Bloomberg L.P. Secunda is currently the Vice Chair and the global head of Bloomberg's Financial Products and Services division, which drives 85 percent of the company's more than $8 billion in annual revenue. Secunda's personal net worth currently stands at around $1.5 billion.
Secunda's Family Foundation gave away around $2 million per year between 2008 and 2011 before upping its grantmaking to $3.5 million in 2012, the last year currently on record. This, and the capital infusion of $45 million they gave their foundation that year, doubling its total assets, may be tied to their signing of the Giving Pledge in 2011, and signal a readiness to start giving away larger chunks of their fortune.
Secunda's largest contributions by far have gone to the National Parks Conservation Association, where he was named Chairman of the Board of Directors in 2011. The organization has received somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 million per year for the last five or more years. He is also on the board of the Intrepid Museum Foundation and the Manhattan Theater Club.
In addition to environmental conservation and arts and culture, Secunda has given generously to a number of Jewish organizations, though not at the level of some of his colleagues. In his Giving Pledge letter, he and his wife also stated that they believe in a balance of large and small contributions, a philosophy that has been reflected in the grants made by his family foundation, benefiting a variety of health research organizations, and smaller arts and culture organizations in the New York City area, generally in the range of $5,000 to $100,000.
The couple has also said they look forward to expanding into new areas in the coming years, so we could start seeing some larger gifts in areas toward which they have previously given only modest amounts. Education seems like it may be one area, cancer research, another.
At 60, we may expect Secunda to be focused on his career for some time to come, but even the most generous estimates of his giving, which often flies below the radar, put him well short of the $750 million or so they would need to give away to fulfill their pledge.