From Boston to Tampa: A Look at This Hedge Fund Star's Philanthropy

Ten years ago, records show that the Vinik Family Foundation's grantmaking was largely focused on the Boston area. The foundation is the philanthropic vehicle of Jeffrey N. Vinik— a finance star who made his name running Fidelity’s Magellan Fund and later Vinik Asset Management— and his wife, Penny. Vinik was once named one of the 50th wealthiest Bostonians by Boston Magazine, and has had a net worth of around $515 million. 

More recent grantmaking out of the Vinik Foundation, however, tells a different story, one that shows that the Viniks have been increasingly interested in the Sunshine State. Why? Well, a few years ago Vinik purchased the Tampa Bay Lightning and moved to Florida. Lately, Vinik has also turned to real estate ventures. In 2011, the Viniks pledged more than $10 million through the Lightning Foundation over five years to support the Tampa community and more recently, Vinik gave University of South Florida-Tampa a gift of land valued at $12 million.

We see this often in philanthropy, where a donor moves to a different region, which in turn affects the trajectory of his or her philanthropy. For the Viniks, Tampa is definitely on their mind, but Boston and other areas still receive support. Unfortunately for grantseekers, the foundation flies under the radar with a minimal web presence. Here's a few must knows, however.

1. Education Has Been Strongly Emphasized

Apart from the Viniks' gift to University of South Florida, Vinik has strongly supported his alma mater, Duke, including with a $10 million gift to establish a faculty challenge fund used to support professors who focus on "complex societal challenges such as engineering and related areas in energy, global health, brain sciences. and the environment." The couple has also funded Meadowbrook School in Weston, Massachusetts, including with a $5 million gift there. The Viniks' children went to Meadowbrook. The couple through their Vinik Family Foundation has supported Harvard Business School, Noble and Greenough School, Tulane University, Worcester Academy, Riverdale Country School, and Inner-City Scholarship Fund, among others.

2. The Viniks Have Also Supported Youth

The Vinik Family Foundation has supported youth outfits such as Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, Big Brothers of Mass Bay, Tenacity, which supports "underserved Boston youth with year round programs that combine education, fitness, & life skills", and Harlem Children's Zone.

3. Arts and Culture is Also an Interest

The Viniks have supported outfits such as Hampton Arts Management, a "nonprofit organization created in 2010 to develop artists and artistic communities in the Tampa Bay area," Museum of Science and Industry, Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, FL, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, which has received millions, and Boston Children's Museum.

4. The Couple Has Other Interests

The couple's philanthropy also involves supporting human services. The couple, through their foundation, has supported outfits such as United Way Suncoast in Tampa, and The Spring of Tampa Bay, whose mission is to "prevent domestic violence, protect victims and promote change in lives, families and communities." The couple also supports religious outfits such as Idlewild Baptist Church, Jewish National Fund, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, and Holmes Presbyterian Church Camp and Conference Association, which has received a steady stream of $1.25 million annually of late. In health, the couple has supported outfits such as Pediatric Cancer Foundation, American Cancer Society, Brigham & Women's Hospital, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Vinik is only in his 50s, and is still very much engaged in different ventures. For now, Vinik has been increasingly focused on his new home base in Tampa, though this may change down the line.

Related: Jeffrey N. Vinik