Leading investors leaving mark in city philanthropy

Jeremy Grantham has become the city’s fourth-largest benefactor.
Jeremy Grantham has become the city’s fourth-largest benefactor. Lane Turner/Globe Staff

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Renowned investment manager Jeremy Grantham leans against a giant, 1,200-year-old Buddha in his office overlooking Boston Harbor and ticks off some of his biggest concerns. There’s the problem of fertilizer and food shortages; the bugs attacking so many of our trees. And the broader toll of climate change on human life.

Grantham is pouring a good deal of his own wealth into environmental charities. With more than $500 million in Grantham family foundations, he is one among a small handful of successful Boston investors emerging as this city’s major new philanthropists.

Jonathon Jacobson and Seth Klarman now each have family foundations that exceed $340 million, according to public tax records reviewed by the Globe. Longtime Boston investment manager Jeffrey Vinik directs a portion of $212 million foundation’s giving here.

Together, they control more than $1.4 billion of charitable funds that will have an impact on the city’s civic, social and cultural future, as well as their personal interests, ranging from poverty and children’s education to health and Israel.

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