Here's a switch: Big hedge funders going nonprofit

The rich are a varied group with a range of opinions. While Thomas Steyer, founder of Farallon Capital Management, pictured here, opposes the Keystone Pipeline, other wealthy individuals such as T. Boone Pickens support it. That complicates studies about the wealthy's political views.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Billionaire hedge fund investor Tom Steyer was at the top of the hedge fund game last year. At 55, he was managing $20 billion and had produced stellar 13 percent annual returns for investors since founding Farallon Capital Management in 1986.

Steyer easily could have continued to chase more money to manage, more years of big returns and more cash in the bank. But, nagged by the threat of global warming, he decided to retire in October 2012.

"Given that I believe climate is the defining issue of our generation, I could not in good conscience continue to be in a business that, by definition, has to consider investments in virtually every sector of the global economy and does have investments in a full set of fossil fuel-related industries," Steyer said in an interview. "We all have to be part of the solution."

Steyer now devotes most of his time--and fortune--to protecting the environment.

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