- Billionaire sports mogul
- Prolific philanthropist, art patron and collector
- Husband of leftist documentarian Iara Lee and producer of her films
- Co-founder of the Iara Lee and George Gund III Foundation
- Co-founder of the Caipirinha Foundation.
George Gund III was born in 1936, the son of a Cleveland banker, entrepreneur and philanthropist. In the business world, the younger Gund made his mark most notably as co-owner of the National Basketball Association’s Cleveland Cavaliers and the National Hockey League’s San Jose Sharks. His other major sports-related business ventures have all involved professional hockey: he was a partner with the California Seals, president of the Cleveland Barons, and chairman of the Minnesota North Stars.
Gund’s family has a long history of supporting the arts. His sister Agnes, for one, has developed an extensive career an art collector, arts patron, trustee, educator, and nonprofit founder. George Gund himself owns large collections of Japanese, Western, and Northwest Coast Indian art; he is also a donor to the Cowboy Poetry Festival, an annual event that made headlines in 2011 when Democratic Senator Harry Reid sought to preserve its eligibility for taxpayer funding.
One of Gund’s artistic passions is the distribution of independent and foreign films. He is a board member of Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute, the Cleveland Film Festival, the Cleveland Cinemateque, and the San Francisco International Film Festival. He also serves on the film committee for the Museum of Modern Art in New York, likely a connection facilitated by his sister.
In 1986 Gund met Korean-Brazilian filmmaker Iara Lee, whom he would later marry. Gund has produced all of Lee’s films, from her early apolitical works in the 1990s to her more recent, hard-left, anti-Israel efforts including the 2010 film Cultures of Resistance. Gund and Lee also created an online activist network, likewise named Cultures of Resistance.
In 2004 Gund and his wife co-founded the Iara Lee and George Gund III Foundation (ILGGF); two years later they established the Caipirinha Foundation (CF). Both of these entities donate funds to numerous leftist organizations. Cumulatively in 2007 and 2008, Gund and Lee contributed $1,133,562 to ILGGF’s operations and $762,953 to CF.
Gund also serves as a trustee of the George Gund Foundation, which was created by his father in 1952 and requires all its grant applicants to specify precisely what they “are doing or considering to reduce or eliminate their impact on climate change.”
In 2008 Gund donated money to the political campaigns of three Democratic congressmen, as well as to ActBlue, the Fund for the Majority, and the Obama Victory Fund. Other political figures whom Gund has supported include Hillary Clinton, Dianne Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, and John Kerry.