Wednesday, July 2, 2014

How to Hide Billions of Dollars in Charitable Giving - At Least for A While

Feat_billionaires_970Bloomberg Businessweek had a fascinating article in May detailing how three billionaires used a complex web of private foundations and limited liability companies to hide not their political activity (they are not the Koch brothers) but instead their charitable giving.  Committed to keeping a low profile while supporting their desired causes, the reporter who wrote the story only stumbled across their activities when he noticed two multi-billion dollar charitable funds listed in an IRS database.  It then apparently took a year to pull from public documents - IRS annual returns, secretary of state filings, and so on - the overall structure and the individuals ultimately behind it: the three founders of a little known but apparently highly successful hedge fund, TGS Management.  Since 2000 the two funds have distributed more than $1.8 billion to various charities (including $700 million to combat Huntington's disease), plus an additional $1 billion that went to the Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program and so the ultimate charitable recipients for that amount are not known.

Bottom line, it is still possible to be a anonymous charitable giver, even on a very large scale, at least for a while.

Lloyd Mayer

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