Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio is a man of many aphorisms, but none are quite as illustrative of both the man and his admonition to his followers to “be the hyena” and “attack that wildebeest.” This is his way of telling his employees that ruthlessness and success go hand-in-hand, that evolution is the key to outperformance, that the hyperrealism of imagining yourself tearing into the flesh of a living, screaming, bleeding wildebeest will lead to the ultimate goal of hypertruthfulness.
It is also a metaphor. Ray Dalio does not want Bridgewater employees or anyone else attacking, killing and eating weaker humans or others lower on the food chain just to prove a particularly grisly point (we think). And so he’s spending some of the $16.8 billion he’s made gorging himself on the proverbial wildebeests of Wall Street to make Connecticut a nicer, happier, more Connecticut-y place where all of the privileged Nutmeg State’s children can live in peace and harmony, while also ensuring that Bridgewater has enough intellectually bloodthirsty hunters to keep things going. Even if they wouldn’t let him build his beautiful dreamland.
The founder and chairman of the world’s largest hedge fund, Westport-based Bridgewater Associates, has donated more than $87 million in charitable gifts since the early 2000s, based upon information collected by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Dalio and his wife Barbara gave $65 million of that to their Dalio Foundationin 2015, which has donated millions to local groups including The Brunswick School, Greenwich Country Day and the Greenwich Land Trust, according to Inside Philanthropy.
Now, $87 million is enough to make Dalio the most philanthropic resident of the country’s fourth-wealthiest state, but it really didn’t take much. Twenty-six states boast bigger donors, among them Texas, where retired hedge funder John Arnold has coughed up $1.5 billion, and New Jersey, from whence David Tepper cut more than $150 million in checks before hightailing it to Florida. To say nothing of the $46.6 billion Warren Buffett’s given away, or $13.4 billion Bill Gates has.
Ten states are home to a donor who has given away at least $1 billion to charity, and Nebraska, Washington, California, and New York are home to the biggest multibillion-dollar donors.
Study: Ray Dalio is Connecticut’s biggest donor [Greenwich Time]
From Alaska to Florida: The Biggest Living Donors in Every State [Chronicle of Philanthropy]