The Power List: The 25 Most Influential People in Boston Philanthropy
They came. They gave. They conquered.
Seth and Beth Klarman
CEO and President, The Baupost Group; Philanthropist
Board Memberships: Klarman Family Foundation, Broad Institute, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, McLean Hospital National Council
Recent Activity: Gave $32.5 million to the Broad Institute in 2012
Since Seth Klarman started at the Baupost Group in 1982, the legendary hedge fund has averaged an annual gain of around 20 percent. Little surprise, then, that he and his wife, Beth—she runs their foundation—have taken the same focus on high-impact returns in their philanthropic ventures. In 2012 they gave $32.5 million to the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, funding an extensive research project to understand the wiring of human cells—an effort that the institute’s director has likened to the Human Genome Project.
Founder and Managing Partner, Strategic Grant Partners
Board Memberships: David Project, Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Initiative, Youth Villages
Recent Activity: Gave $5.1 million in grants in 2011
Jacobson, a Harvard MBA and former president of the Keds Corporation, brings a venture philanthropist’s focus on results to Strategic Grant Partners, which she started in 2002 as a nonprofit incubator. Legendary investors such as Seth Klarman, James Pallotta, and Josh Bekenstein enlist her to help them discover, and then fund, some of the area’s best nonprofits. Groups receiving SGP donations, which have included Year Up and Youth Villages, are expected to quantify their results, in the form of, say, higher test scores or revenue growth.
President, Massachusetts General Hospital
Board Memberships: Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Hospital Association, MIT
Recent Activity: Raised $1.4 billion for MGH between 2005 and 2012
In 2005, Slavin and MGH started a massive fundraising drive, “The Campaign for the Third Century of MGH Medicine,” to raise money for research, patient care, and a new building. Five years later, he publicly announced the $1.5 billion campaign—the largest in New England hospital history—as well as the fact that nearly two-thirds of the target amount had already been raised. As of last fall, MGH had hit 94 percent of the goal, and is likely to reach 100 percent by the end of 2013.
Phillip and Susan Ragon
Founder, Intersystems Corporation; Vice President, Intersystems Corporation
Board Memberships: Phillip T. and Susan M. Ragon Institute Foundation
Recent Activity: Pledged $100 million for AIDS research in 2009
Here’s one way to make an instant—and long-lasting—impact on philanthropy in a city: Bring together top scientists from the finest institutions (MGH, MIT, and Harvard) in a new collaborative environment (the Ragon Institute) for cutting-edge AIDS research (developing a vaccine) and fund it with $100 million over 10 years.
Chairman, Liberty Mutual
Board Memberships: Kelly Family Foundation, Boston Symphony Orchestra
Recent Activity: Leads fundraising to cover BSO’s $20 million annual budget gap
As the board chairman for the BSO, Kelly is responsible for convincing wealthy donors to help cover the $20 million gap between revenues and operating costs. He’s also chairman of Liberty Mutual, and last year the company announced that it was increasing annual local giving by 20 percent, to $17 million, and had finalized an $8 million, three-year deal to continue funding the BSO’s Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular.