Charles B. Johnson
Charles B. Johnson
Charles Bartlett Johnson
January 6, 1933
|Education||Montclair High School|
|Alma mater||Yale University|
|Net worth||US$4.8 billion (January 2020)|
|Spouse(s)||Ann Demarest Lutes|
|Children||7 (1 deceased), including Greg Johnson|
|Relatives||Rupert Johnson, Jr. (brother)|
Charles Bartlett Johnson was born in 1933 in Montclair, New Jersey, to Rupert Harris Johnson and Florence Endler. His father and mother divorced during his childhood, leaving Charles to live with his mother and four siblings. His father's second marriage produced Rupert Jr., Charles' later business partner, and two other step-siblings.
Johnson attended Montclair High School, and then Yale College, where he graduated in 1954. At Yale he played offensive guard for the football team and waited dining hall tables as a scholarship student. An ROTC cadet, he later served as a lieutenant in the United States Army stationed in Germany.
Johnson and his brother, Rupert Johnson, Jr., worked at Franklin Resources, a mutual fund company started by Rupert Sr. in 1947. In 1957, at the age of 24, he became CEO and is credited for taking the company public in 1971. He was succeeded by his son Greg Johnson (businessman) in 2013.
Johnson is principal owner of the MLB San Francisco Giants, although he leaves team control duties to the head of the ownership group, Larry Baer. Other members of the group include Scott Seligman, Peter Magowan, Philip Halperin, Allan Byer, and David S. Wolff.
Philanthropy and political donations
Johnson is one of his alma mater's largest benefactors, having given considerable sums to athletic and student facilities at Yale. Johnson Field, used for field hockey, was opened in 2001. In 2005, he was the principal donor to a renovation of the Yale Bowl. Johnson has also funded academic programs, including the Johnson Center for the Study of American Diplomacy and Brady–Johnson Program in Grand Strategy.
In September 2013, Yale president Peter Salovey announced that Johnson had given $250 million to support the construction of two new residential colleges costing $400 million. The gift was the largest in Yale's history in nominal terms. One of the new colleges has been named for Benjamin Franklin, a personal hero of Johnson's whose name is borne by the family investment firm. This decision was met with confusion by some Yale students, as Benjamin Franklin, who received an honorary degree from the university, owned slaves before joining the abolition movement.
Johnson is one of the largest donors to Republican and Tea-Party-backed political campaigns. Since 2000, he has contributed over $900,000 to the campaigns of Mitt Romney, John Boehner, and Ben Quayle. In 2015, Johnson donated $1 million to a Super PAC supporting the presidential candidacy of Jeb Bush.
In 2018, Johnson and his wife, Ann, each donated $2,700 to the campaign of Cindy Hyde-Smith who is a Republican U.S. Senator from Mississippi in a runoff election against Mike Espy, an African-American democratic candidate. On the campaign trail, Hyde-Smith was criticized when a video surfaced showing her tell a local rancher, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.” The basis for such wide criticism came as the state has dealt with a history of African Americans being lynched. Nine days after such controversial video surfaced, Charles Johnson and his wife Ann Johnson each donated $5,400 to the Hyde-Smith campaign which sparked further criticism of Mr. and Mrs. Johnson.
Later in the same year , Johnson donated $1000 to Black Americans for the President’s Agenda, a super PAC that supports President Trump’s policies and conservative candidates, according to the group’s financial disclosures. The superPAC released a racist ad, which forced Johnson to release a statement saying "I had absolutely no knowledge that this donation would be used in this manner and I, like the Giants organization, strongly condemn any form of racism and in no way condone the advertisement that was created by this entity." 
Charles is married to Ann, and they have six children (a seventh is deceased). His son, Greg Johnson, is chairman and CEO at Franklin Resources. Ann became a medical doctor after raising their children, and supervised the restoration of the Carolands Chateau.
- "Forbes profile: Charles Johnson". Forbes. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
- Fulton History March 28, 1955
- Knapp, Gwen (29 September 2012). "Charles Johnson, top Giants owner, keeps low profile". San Francisco Gate. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
- "Historic $250 million gift to Yale from alumnus is largest ever". Yale University, News. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
- Ravani, Sarah (19 October 2018). "SF Giants owner gave $1K to PAC behind racist ad targeting black voters". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
- Alden, William (30 September 2013). "Mutual Fund Billionaire Gives $250 Million to Yale". DealBook. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
- Counterpunch Magazine: "The San Francisco Giants of Real Estate, Tech and Finance" by DARWIN BOND-GRAHAM October 31, 2012
- "Renovation of Yale Bowl celebrated at The Game". Yale Bulletin & Calendar. 30 November 2007. Missing or empty
- Donnelly, Shannon (3 October 2013). "Johnsons give $250 million to Yale". Palm Beach Daily News. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
- Alden, William (30 September 2013). "Mutual Fund Billionaire Gives $250 Million to Yale". New York Times. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
- Remnick, Noah (28 April 2016). "Yale Defies Calls to Rename Calhoun College". New York Times. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
- Lloyd-Thomas, Matthew (5 December 2013). "Yale donor is among nation's top political contributors". Yale Daily News. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
- "Million-Dollar Donors in the 2016 Presidential Race". New York Times. 25 August 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2015.