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Julian Robertson, Jr. Creates a Breeding Ground for Philanthropists

In his heyday, Julian Robertson, Jr. led his Tiger investment firm into becoming one of the world’s largest hedge funds, with capital exceeding $23 billion, and growing at 31.5% between its founding in 1980 and its closing in 2000. In addition to its success, Robertson was responsible both directly and indirectly for helping start many of today’s best hedge funds, often by empowering former “Tigers.”

Recognizing the “great force for the world” the investors at Tiger could be, Robertson decided to apply this knack for creating new hedge funds to start the Tiger Foundation, a foundation intended to make philanthropists out of his employees and ultimately lead to new foundations. Of the Tiger Foundation, aimed at serving New York city’s neediest families, he says: “Give talented people the opportunity and they will make the most of it.” Indeed, over time, it has exceeded Robertson’s expectations and spawned a number of new foundations.

Robertson’s philanthropic interests extend beyond the activities of the Tiger Foundation to his small-town roots in Salisbury, NC, and the collective interests of his family. Creating foundations for each of these, his giving portfolio consists of three foundations: the Blanche and Julian Robertson Foundation, named for his parents and benefitting his hometown, the Robertson Foundation, primarily covering environment and medicine, and the Tiger Foundation.

Through these foundations Robertson’s giving has spanned many causes, from stem cell research to spirituality, and become a significant part of his life. “I’m happy to have it there,” says Robertson, who feels that the opportunity to make even a little difference is “fabulous.”

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