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Robertson foundation gets $5M

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By Solja Nygard Frangos

SALISBURY, N.C. — The Blanche and Julian Robertson Family Foundation in Salisbury has received $5 million from founder Julian H. Robertson Jr., a Salisbury native and New York money manager who created the foundation in 1997 with $15 million.

The new gift brings the foundation’s total assets to $17.4 million, up  from $14 million a year ago.

David Setzer, executive director, says the gift couldn’t have arrived at a better time.

“The current economic climate hasn’t exactly helped things, although so far, we have been able to keep our giving on the same level as in previous years,” he says.

The foundation, which makes grants once a year, supports public health, education, the performing arts and youth and family services. The deadline for applications is early April.

While required by law to make grants each year totaling at least 5 percent of its assets, the foundation typically has handed out more, although the total this year might be “closer to that five percent” because of the slumping economy, Setzer says.

“We also have to see what the community’s needs are and decide how we try to meet them,” he says.

In addition to new grants, the foundation provides continuing support for  Communities in Schools of Rowan County, Community Care Clinic of Rowan County, Habitat for Humanity of Rowan County, a United Way program called Day of Caring, and Rowan Helping Ministries.

The foundation also supports to two local construction projects – Salisbury YMCA and Waterworks Visual Arts Center.

Robertson, a veteran hedge-fund manager known for the Tiger Management funds he closed in 2000, established the foundation five years ago and named it after his parents, saying he wanted to do something for his hometown in his parents’ memory.

He gave $5 million to the foundation in February 2000 and $1 million last March.

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