One of the world's richest couples is donating $100 million to support public education and new businesses in some of Connecticut's most disadvantaged communities.
Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont's office said Friday's donation from hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio and his wife, Barbara, is believed to be the largest to benefit the state in its history.
Dalio lives in Greenwich and is the founder of the investment firm Bridgewater Associates.
He said the money is earmarked for areas with high poverty and drop-out rates and will create career paths that encourage kids to stay in school.
“The Dalios, especially Barbara, have made improving public education a priority and thousands of young people will have a better chance to succeed because of their commitment,” Gov. Lamont said in a statement. “There are many individuals who care deeply about Connecticut and its future generations. We’ve come together today for a historic investment to support, encourage, and mentor our young people so they can achieve their greatest potential. I’m grateful to the Dalios, to all our community leaders and educators, and to all of our young people who are working every day to make our state the best it can be.”
The governor said the state plans to leverage the donation into a $300 million investment over five years, with Connecticut matching Dalio's $100 million and another $100 million from other philanthropists and business leaders.
“Giving students the education that leads to career and job opportunities is one of the most important responsibilities that we have as a society,” Barbara Dalio, co-founder and director of Dalio Philanthropies, said in a statement. “When students are given the career and job training opportunities and they can see a path that excites them, they will thrive. Ray and I are thrilled to partner with Governor Lamont and communities to make this vision possible.”
The $100 million from Dalio Philanthropies is the largest known philanthropic donation to benefit the state in Connecticut’s history, according to the governor’s office.
“Equal access to education and job opportunities are required for any system to be fair and productive,” Ray Dalio, co-founder and president of Dalio Philanthropies, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, these are now lacking in Connecticut, particularly in poor areas of the state where poverty impedes children’s ability to get a quality education and for adults to get jobs. I believe that all members of our Connecticut community should pull together to rectify these intolerable circumstances. Barbara has for many years been tirelessly working alongside our state’s educational and community leaders to help provide our public school system with the support it needs to close the educational opportunity gaps. Building on her work and Governor Lamont’s call to work together, we are excited to help initiate this partnership to improve public education and provide jobs and microfinancing opportunities to those in the most depressed areas of our state.”
He said they hope to raise incomes, lower social costs and make Connecticut “a more hospitable environment for those who will contribute to its well-being.”