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Dalio Foundation funding in Connecticut: Where does it go?

The Dalio Foundation which, in partnership with the state of Connecticut, is set to oversee upwards of $300 million in public and private funds to help Connecticut’s underperforming schools, managed total net assets of $778 million and made gifts, grants and contributions totaling $109.2 million, according to the organization’s 2017 990 tax filings.

The Dalio Foundation is funded by billionaire hedge fund investor Raymond Dalio and is managed by his wife, Barbara Dalio, who is listed as a principal for The Partnership for Connecticut’s corporate filings with the Office of the Secretary of State.

The gifts, grants and contributions ranged from organizations across the United States to London and to Dalio’s Public Welfare Foundation in Beijing, China.

In Connecticut, the Dalio Foundation contributed $8.7 million to multiple organizations based in 15 Connecticut towns and cities. Contributions ranged from mental health programs to public and charter schools and the Greenwich Town Party.

Below is a list of the foundation’s ten largest Connecticut donations in 2017.

  • $1.65 million – CT Rise Network: The CT RISE Network is part of the Dalio Foundation and works with local schools to “empower educators” and help students “realize and achieve their full potential,” according to the organization’s website.
  • $812,500 – The Clifford Beers Guidance Clinic: Based in New Haven, the Clifford Beers Guidance Clinic is an outpatient children’s mental health clinic. Funds were restricted to providing mental health services.
  • $700,000 – All Our Kin: Also based in New Haven, All Our Kin “trains, supports and sustains” child care providers by offering free training to become a licensed child care provider. They work throughout the New Haven, Bridgeport and Norwalk area.
  • $615,000 – Our Piece of the Pie: Based in Hartford, Our Piece of the Pie focuses on workforce readiness for youth ages 14 to 24 through educational work programs. Funds were restricted to the Hartford Youth Service Corp. in which youth “participate in paid service-learning projects” for one year, according to the organization’s website. 
  • $533,500 – The Carver Foundation: Based in Norwalk, the Carver Foundation provides after-school and summer programs for Norwalk public schools and the Side by Side charter school. Programs include literacy and STEAM subjects like science, math, art, technology and engineering. Funds were for Youth Development Middle School Program and growing capacity.
  • $500,000 – Achievement First Charter School: Achievement First is a network of charter school based in New Haven but with schools in Hartford and Bridgeport, as well. 
  • $400,000 – The Richard & Barbara Whitcomb Foundation: Based out of New Canaan, the Whitcomb Foundation was funded entirely by the Dalio Foundation in 2017 and 2018, according to their 990 reports. The foundation also makes charitable contributions to community and education programs in Connecticut and throughout the country.
  • $389,000 – Meriden Public Schools: The funds were provided to the Meriden Public Schools system to facilitate its participation in the Dalio Foundation’s CT RISE Network. The foundation also contributed $271,000 to East Hartford Public Schools for their participation in the CT RISE Network.
  • $354,000 – Greenwich Town Party: Annual town party held in Greenwich featuring big name music acts, food and fun. The town party is run by a nonprofit dedicated to raising funds and paying for the event. Tickets are only available to town residents, business owners and employees.
  • $295,000 – Yale University: The Dalio Foundation contributed $50,000 to the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and $245,000 to the Center for Emotional Intelligence.

The Partnership for Connecticut was formed with a $100 million donation from the Dalio Foundation that will be paid over five years, combined with a matching investment by the state. The Partnership will seek an additional $100 million from other charitable organizations and investors.

Despite the generous donation, The Partnership for Connecticut has been the subject of some controversy. 

Passed as part of the 2019 budget deal, some lawmakers and media were upset when they learned non-legislative members of the partnership’s board would not be subject to state Freedom of Information laws.

Funding for the state’s participation in the partnership also employed a budgetary work-around to avoid the state spending cap by transferring the funds to the partnership rather than appropriating them from the General Fund. Had the funds been appropriated, Connecticut would have exceeded the spending cap.

Lawmakers recently rejected a request by Dalio Philanthropies for $247,500 in pay for a CEO of The Partnership for Connecticut, along with an initial $425,000 initial operating budget, creation of a five-member executive subcommittee, election of board officers and approval of a transparency statement, according to a report by CT Mirror.

The subcommittee suggested by Dalio Philanthropies would have had the power of the entire board but without public oversight because it would have excluded state officials.

Lawmakers were also asked to approve Erik Clemmons for the position of president of the partnership. Clemmons is president and CEO of the Connecticut Center for Arts and Technology and was also listed on the partnership’s corporate filings.  

Barbara Dalio was recommended for the position of vice president of the partnership, but, to date, no board officers have been approved.

None of the five directors of the Dalio Foundation – including Raymond and Barbara Dalio — listed a salary for their work for the foundation, according to the organization’s tax filings.

Marc E. Fitch

Marc E. Fitch is the author of several books and novels including Shmexperts: How Power Politics and Ideology are Disguised as Science and Paranormal Nation: Why America Needs Ghosts, UFOs and Bigfoot. Marc was a 2014 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow and his work has appeared in The Federalist, American Thinker, The Skeptical Inquirer, World Net Daily and Real Clear Policy. Marc has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Western Connecticut State University. Marc can be reached at [email protected]

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