Hedge Fund Billionaire John Paulson Goes Long With $100 Million Gift to Central Park Conservancy

You know John Paulson: He’s the hedge fund manager who scored biggest betting against mortgage-backed bonds ahead of the subprime crisis, and while it hasn’t been all champagne and roses since, that’s hardly stopped the guy from loosening the purse strings. In June, he paid $49 million for a 90-acre Aspen, Colo. ranch previously owned by Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan.

Today, the hedge fund billionaire announced a $100 million gift to the Central Park Conservancy, the largest donation made to the organization charged with the physical management of the park.

“The Conservancy is responsible for transforming and sustaining Central Park as the celebration of culture, nature and democracy that it is today,” Mr. Paulson said in a press release issued by the Conservancy. “It is my hope that today’s contribution will help it endure and flourish and inspire others to join me in ensuring that the Park continues to receive the support it needs to be this city’s greatest asset.”

The gift will fund improvements to parkwide infrastructure and recreational activities, according to the release, and the fund the endowment of the Conservancy, whose private fundraising provides more than 80 percent of the park’s annual budget.

According to Bloomberg, Queens-bred Mr. Paulson said his parents took him on stroller rides through the park as a child, and his Fifth Avenue resident—seen here in The Wall Street Journalis said to offer views of the Central Park Reservoir.