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Remembering the Legacy of Julian Robertson

Father of the modern hedge fund industry and champion of Teach For America, Julian helped countless children around the world gain access to the education they want and deserve.  

September 25, 2022

Hedge fund pioneer, philanthropist, and long-time supporter of Teach For America Julian Robertson passed away on August 23, 2022, at the age of 90.

Julian built one of the most successful hedge funds of the late 20th century, Tiger Management, and seeded many of his proteges’ firms along the way. As his assets grew, he and his wife, Josie, established The Robertson Foundation, one of Teach For America’s most generous and impactful contributors. Through Julian’s generosity, the Foundation has provided critical funding to advance our strategy and enable the network to expand and improve, ensuring children everywhere continue to learn, lead, and thrive.

As a constant advocate for education, Julian believed every child deserves a quality education, regardless of location, race, religion, or status. He played a significant role in fueling Teach For America at a time when financial support for such institutions was rare. His efforts to improve public schools in urban and rural communities in the United States remain unmatched.

The Foundation’s support of Teach For America started in 2005 with a multi-year investment in our strategic plan. The funding not only helped us grow our corps, but it also helped maximize the impact of our corps members on student achievement, all while fostering and accelerating the leadership of our alumni. Those investments helped build a thriving organization.

“Julian Robertson and his work through the Robertson Foundation enabled Teach For America to strengthen key parts of our program, especially during the pivotal moments for our students and communities,” said Elisa Villanueva Beard, CEO at Teach For America.

The Foundation was behind Teach For America’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With this support, we could quickly reimagine our teacher and leadership development program and adapt to the technical constraints posed by social distancing to meet the new needs of our educators and students. Together, we designed and launched our first-ever virtual summer teacher training (VSTT), which has impacted our pre-service training. 

Additionally, Julian broke down borders by encouraging Wendy Kopp – co-founder and CEO of Teach For All – to be responsive to the many people determined to adopt the Teach For America approach in their countries, which is how Teach For All was born 15 years ago.

“Without his encouragement and support, it’s hard to imagine how we would have progressed on the trajectory we did, now about to celebrate 15 years with a network of organizations in 60 countries developing thousands of teachers and leaders in marginalized communities around the world,” said Wendy.

Because of Julian's vision and deep conviction in the power of education, much of the support we have received has positioned us to be as strong as we are today.

“Teach For America has grown into a critical source of leadership for schools, communities, and the broader movement for educational equity and excellence,” said Elisa. “Much of this work would not have been possible without key supporters like Julian Robertson and the Robertson Foundation. His legacy will continue to impact student outcomes for decades to come.”