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Thomas Uger Profile

Thomas Uger
IMG: via kkr.com

One business executive who is doing big things in the philanthropy world is Thomas Uger, co-head of KKR’s Media and Communications industry team in North America. Uger received his B.A. from the prestigious Dartmouth College, and since then he’s kept himself active in the philanthropy scene.

The Dutchess Land Conservancy has a mission to protect wildlife habitats, forests, water, and open space in the county from being developed or damaged. It does so by gaining private property easements through donation or purchase. A landowner in Dutchess County, Thomas Uger made a significant donation the Dutchess Land Conservancy—125 acres, which includes a rare circumnatural bog lake home to many rare creatures and plants.

Also interested in preserving arts and culture, Thomas Uger served as a board member for the Katharsis Theater Company, which is currently on artistic hiatus. A classic theater group, Katharsis has put on productions of classic tales for contemporary audiences, aiming for dramatic interpretations of time-tested stories that hold universal truths, conditions, and experiences for all audiences.

As if his position at KKR didn’t keep him busy enough, Thomas Uger is also on the board of trustees for WNET. A non-profit organization, WNET is the “premier public media provider” in NYC. It is parent to two other public television stations and also hosts several digital services, websites, and more. It is governed by a board of 38 trustees that meets regularly throughout the year.

WNET is a major producer of media on local, national, and international levels, and has won several awards for its content—which includes programs covering arts and cluture, news, public affairs, science, natural history, documentaries, and children’s programming. WNET also hosts the annual Celebration of Teaching & Learning, a professional development conference for the world’s top educators, thinkers, and practitioners.

 

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Private Equity and Charity: An Unexpected Matchup

charity
IMG: via Shutterstock

Most people don’t exactly relate private equity and charity to each other—but maybe they should. Private equity and venture philanthropy share a fair number of similarities, including the need for efficiency, the acquisition of portfolios, and good exit timing.

The Impetus Trust and the Private Equity Foundation are two organizations that have figured this out already. The two have joined hands and are taking the charity scene by storm. Their goal is to invest from £8-£10 million in UK charities to help fight repeated criminal offenses, unemployment among youth, and poverty.

Private equity traditionally follows a model that allows them to give struggling companies an internal reorganization or “makeover,” which makes them more efficient overall. For example, private equity giant Kohlberg Kravis Roberts has a program called Capstone, which places executives on the board of struggling companies to offer guidance, leadership, and support. The Private Equity Foundation and Impetus Trust will do the same with charities, helping them become more profitable and lowering overhead costs.

Both private equity and venture philanthropy also often acquire “portfolios” of investments; for private equity those portfolios are companies, and for venture philanthropy they are charities. The goal when acquiring these portfolios is usually to get them turned around and functioning independently and profitably. At that point, the “exit” is made.

Henry Kravis once said, “[D]on’t congratulate us when we buy a company, congratulate us when we sell it. Because any fool can overpay and buy a company, as long as money will last to buy it.” Private equity operates under a model that requires a successful turnaround to make a profit. That means companies like KKR are seasoned experts on creating efficiency—something that a successful charity will be as well.

The culture of giving has continued to grow over the past few years, and that’s a trend that many are hoping will continue. Older generations that have finished their careers are looking for ways to give back and the younger generations are becoming more and more socially active and engaged with causes. Partnerships like the one between the Impetus Trust and Private Equity Foundation have strength moving forward, and stand to make a huge impact on venture philanthropy.

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Bill Sonneborn, KKR financier and philanthropist

bill sonneborn
IMG: via kkr.com

Bill Sonneborn is perhaps best known for his professional career at Kohlberg, Kravis Roberts LLC- where he is the head of KKR Asset Management and CEO of KKR Financial Holdings.  But the reason why is he is being featured on Philanthropic People is for his dedicated philanthropy and advocacy.

Not only is Sonneborn one of the four business leaders elected to the LPCH board, but he is also a Director of the Los Angeles Council of the Boy Scouts of America.  To find out more about Bill Sonneborn read his entire profile here.

 

 

 

 

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Organizations

Robin Hood Foundation- New York Anti-Poverty

robin hood foundation
IMG: via robinhood.org

New York City is filled with organizations that are working to help combat poverty, but one of the best, and the most awesomely named, is the Robin Hood Foundation.  Founded more than 20 years ago, the foundation works with some of the most innovative thinkers and thought leader, including financiers like Goldman Sachs Group CEO Lloyd Blankfein or KKR’s Kenneth Mehlman.

The Robin Hood Foundation partners with innovative organizations in the New York area in order to help control and wipe out poverty. The Foundation is committed to affecting all pieces of the poverty puzzle, including chronic illnesses, education, and homelessness.

Read our full profile on the Robin Hood Foundation here.