Stanley Druckenmiller, one of the best-performing hedge-fund managers of the past three decades and an avid golfer, is among those who gave a total of $6.8 million to the Masters Tournament Foundation in 2011.
Druckenmiller, who shut down his hedge fund, Duquesne Capital Management LLC, in 2010 after averaging annual returns of 30 percent since 1986, gave $100,000 to the foundation, which was created two years ago to fund global golf initiatives by the private Augusta, Georgia, club where the Masters Tournament, the first major championship of the golf season, begins on April 11.
The first tax records filed for the foundation show 58 people or organizations donated to the private foundation, which in turn gave $1.7 million to eight golf groups, including $1 million to the World Golf Foundation.
“That’s a lot of checks,” Andrew Morton, a Chicago-based philanthropy attorney and chairman of the Sports & Entertainment Law Group at Handler Thayer LLP, said in a telephone interview. “Let’s face it, members of Augusta have a fairly well-known allegiance to the club, so it’s not surprising that they would have that broad base of support, but it’s still impressive. It will be interesting to see what happens in Year 2. I would suspect that they will attract even more donors.”
The 80-year-old club also gave $200,000 to the Augusta chapter of the First Tee, a national organization that uses golf to promote leadership and education among children.
This year’s Masters will be the first held with women among the membership of Augusta National, after former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and philanthropist Darla Moore were added in August.
No women gave individually to the foundation. Several made joint donations with their husbands or family institutions, including Kelly and Lee Styslinger. Lee Styslinger, chairman of Altec Inc., an electrical utility equipment leasing company and a club member, played a round at Augusta National yesterday with Rice and three-time champion Phil Mickelson.
Among the recipients, $100,000 went to the LPGA Foundation, the charity arm of the world’s leading women’s golf tour. It was the same amount as the Masters Tournament Foundation gave to the PGA Foundation, the U.S. Golf Association and PGA Tour Charities.
Since 2007, Augusta National has forged new sponsorships and broadcast deals, licensed a video game and built $13 million worth of corporate hospitality facilities under the guidance of club Chairman Billy Payne.
Payne, who donated $100,000 through his Beard-Payne Family Foundation, is among the many known club members who donated to the foundation.
Payne, 65, declined to comment on the foundation’s finances through tournament spokesman Steve Ethun.
Morton, who helps professional athletes set up public charities, praised the club for establishing the non-profit arm as a private foundation instead of a public charity. Private foundations are subject to more detailed scrutiny of finances under philanthropy laws, Morton said.
“They have taken the more transparent, more regulatory approach,” Morton said. “I give them a lot of credit. It’s a pretty safe bet that they opted for that route to alleviate any concern about it being shady or self-dealing.”
Augusta National, co-founded in 1933 by Clifford Roberts, a Wall Street investment banker, and Bobby Jones, the only player to sweep golf’s Grand Slam of major championships in one year, gave the largest amount, with a $2.9 million contribution.
The funds were generated through sales of Electronic Arts Inc. (EA)’s Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 video game and tournament-related proceeds.
Along with Druckenmiller, individual members who donated included former International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) Chief Executive Officer Sam Palmisano ($50,000); John Harris, a North Carolina real-estate developer and president of Charlotte’s Quail Hollow Club ($100,000); Craig Heatley, founder of New Zealand’s Sky Network Television (SKT) ($100,000); Rob Johnston, an Atlanta apartment developer and operator ($100,000), and Thomas Blanchard, an Augusta realtor ($20,0000).
Jim Armstrong, who will retire in September after 34 years as the club’s executive director, gave $25,000, the same amount given by Fred Ridley, an Augusta club member and former U.S. Golf Association president who won the 1975 U.S. Amateur title.
Morris Communications Co., the closely held media company founded by Augusta member Billy Morris, gave $10,000. The gift from the publisher of the Augusta Chronicle matches the foundation’s second-smallest donation.
Druckenmiller, a golfing regular at U.S. clubs including Pittsburgh’s Oakmont, California’s Cypress Point, and New York’s Shinnecock Hills and National Golf Links of America, joined Augusta National within the past 10 years. He was not listed on a published membership list in 2004.
Druckenmiller, 59, has a 7.1 golfing handicap index, according to the U.S. Golf Association’s website. Through a spokesman, he declined to comment on his donation to the foundation.
James Dunne III, senior managing principal at Sandler O’Neill & Partners LP, also gave $100,000 to the Masters foundation through his New York-based Cypress Foundation Inc.
Dunne gave a total of $623,180 to charities in 2011, including $10,000 to the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, founded by six-time Masters champion Jack Nicklaus. Dunne has 4.1 handicap index.
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