The Children's Crusade of Hedge Fund Billionaire Christopher Hohn

When a billionaire names his hedge fund the Children's Investment Fund, it's a good indication that children might be high on his list of priorities. This has certainly been the case for British billionaire Christopher Hohn, who established the Children's Investment Fund (TCI) with his ex wife Jamie Cooper. Supporting children around the world has been Hohn's singular philanthropic focus so far.

An interesting thing about TCI is that for a while, it donated a portion of all of its fees to charitable organizations, and was the first hedge fund to do so. These days, in the wake of a divorce, Hohn directs his philanthropy through the Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), which unfortunately for grantseekers only contributes to preselected organizations.

Through CIFF, Hohn's philanthropy aims to help transform the lives of poor and vulnerable children in developing countries. CIFF currently lists four priorities"nutrition, child survival, educational attainment and climate." A lot of his philanthropy has focused on curtailing mother-to-child HIV/AIDS transmission. To that end, CIFF made a $45 million grant to the Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation towards a five year program supporting Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Child Care’s efforts to lower the number of new HIV infections among infants. Money has also gone towards fighting malaria and CIFF recently committed committed $50 million to the Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases partnership.

Hohn also recently stepped in with CIFF and committed $20 million in response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. We've written about other funders such as Paul Allen who also stepped in during this urgent crisis last year. 

While a lot of Hohn's philanthropy involves children's health, in 2008, CIFF also launched a special initiative on climate change and its impact on children. Within this realm, the foundation focuses on "smart urbanization" and "energy sector transformation" mainly in Europe, China, and Latin America. However, the exact nature of CIFF's grantmaking in this area isn't clear.

Another important area for Hohn is malnutrition. The foundation has worked with Nigeria’s Federal and State Ministries of Health and UNICEF towards a program in Northern Nigeria which delivers nutrient-rich peanut paste to children suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

Hohn took a half a billion dollar hit in his divorce but his net worth still sits above $1 billion. Only in his late 40s, it's likely that Hohn's focus on children worldwide is just beginning.

Related: Christopher Hohn Guide