Investor David Tepper Donates $3 Million to Feeding America

Over 200 centralized food banks comprise the nationwide network of Feeding America, which supplements food to nearly 50 million people via 60,000 food pantries and meal delivery programs in the U.S. The entire network has been strained to the breaking point this autumn, by the hurricane disasters in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.

In a glimpse of what the wealthy should be to America, hedge fund billionaire David Tepper pledged $3 million from his David Tepper Charitable Foundation and Appaloosa LP to support Feeding America’s hurricane relief efforts.

Last week, Tepper told reporters that ensuring food banks have access to food, safe drinking water, and the other resources they need to remain open in times of crisis is “vital to helping these communities recover.”

CEO of Feeding America Diana Aviv said that the Tepper Foundation pledge will reach thousands of those displaced and impacted by the hurricanes. On their website, Feeding America quips that every dollar of donation furnishes 11 meals to the hungry. By that rubric, this pledge could feed more than half of the network’s regular recipients. By comparison, in 2016, they reported taking in a total just under $2.5 million in public support and revenue.

Tepper, son of an accountant and a school teacher, is currently worth nearly $12 billion, putting him among the 200 wealthiest people in the world. He’s known as a “philanthropist with a loose wallet.”

Tepper’s $3 million pledge, while game-changing for Feeding America, is chump change for his foundation. In 2013, he donated a whopping $67 million to his alma mater of Carnegie Mellon University (the university named their school of business after him). As if that’s not cool enough, Tepper also regularly supports charities targeting Jewish communities and education.

Another reason to love the guy? After Hurricane Sandy, he donated $200,000 in gift cards directly to families in affected cities to help them rebuild.

The world needs more David Teppers.

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Bon Jovi Gives to Sandy Relief

Bon Jovi
IMG: s_bukley / Shutterstock

Jon Bon Jovi announced this week a $1 million gift to Hurricane Sandy Hurricane Relief Fund, a charity headed by New Jersey First Lady Mary Pat Christie. The storm, which hit in October 2012, was the second costliest hurricane in U.S. history, totaling over 68 billion dollars in damages. In New Jersey, the storm killed 37 people, left 2.6 million people without power and damaged 72,000 homes and businesses. Bon Jovi visited his hometown, Sayreville, shortly after the storm and headlined a relief concert last year. He is also on the board of directors for the relief fund. Rocker Bruce Springsteen is one of the advisory founders of the organization as well.

The purpose of the relief fund is to raise money for organizations in New Jersey that work to rebuild and repair the damages left in New Jersey after the storm. It was created in order to supplement the government support and cover damages that would not otherwise receive aid. The fund is estimated to have 38 million dollars in assets and has awarded over 10 million in grants since April of this year. The largest gift was awarded to the Princeton Area Community Foundation for housing assistance. Other large gifts have been awarded for housing assistance, but also to Operation Hope for financial counseling, social services, mental health assistance and economic development.

Bon Jovi is no stranger to philanthropy, but he says it is especially hard to see your home devastated by disaster. Governor Christie said that he was proud that Bon Jovi never forgot his hometown roots.

To read more about Bon Jovi, head to our profile.

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Sandy Relief Foundation Facing Scrutiny

Nearly four months after Superstorm Sandy hit the east coast, one major charity is having its operations and motives questioned. The Sandy Relief Foundation raised about $1 million in the wake of the storm, but according to an investigation by the Asbury Park Press, few of those funds have been released. It’s also not a tax-exempt organization, as its website claims.

The Sandy Relief Foundation is run by John Sandberg and his girlfriend, Christina Terraccino. Sandberg says he began planning for the foundation just before Sandy hit New Jersey and records indicate that the two filed paperwork to incorporate the foundation as a nonprofit corporation in New Jersey on October 30, 2012.

Though it’s not officially tax exempt, the two founders claim that tax exemptions can be filed retroactively once they gain official nonprofit status. The couple is getting help on their IRS application from Melanie Swift, who is a nonprofit expert. She said she had told the two to take down the “tax-exempt” status claim previously.

According to Sandberg, the delay in funds distribution is due to a large backlog of applicants. He says those on the waiting list should receive gift cards within 30 days if they qualify for aid.

There are some who have already received aid from the Foundation, such as Michael Armstrong, who says he was given two gift cards to Lowe’s totaling $500.
They were gracious enough to stop in the Highlands and they checked everything out and they gave us gift cards,” he said.

But because the foundation isn’t officially registered in New Jersey—or any other state—it technically isn’t supposed to be allowed to fund raise there. Many are beginning to question the operations of the organization as a whole. A few other details uncovered by the Asbury Park Press make Sandberg seem less than trustworthy. He never received a degree from Steton Hall University (as the resume claims he did) and two of the foundations corporate sponsors say they’re not affiliated with the charity at all.

The Sandy Relief Foundation’s website claims that it was founded “by the victoms for the victims” of the storm. “We decided to take it upon ourselves to bring attention to our neighbors in need of immediate relief. With no funding, and limited resources we started our journey to raise donation to bring necessary supplies to local shelters, restore power, clean up debris, and rebuild communities,” it reads. “With an anticipated 6-8 year recovery and 2 year clean up this will not be a sprint, it will be a marathon.”