Philanthropist, financier and St. John homeowner Donald Sussman announced Tuesday that he has donated Mingo Cay to the Trust for Virgin Islands Lands (TVIL).
Mingo Cay is a nearly 50-acre island situated two miles off the northwest coast of St. John and two miles off the northeast coast of St. Thomas, according to a news release issued by the Trust.
Sussman, who is founder and chief investment officer of Paloma Partners, has owned Mingo Cay since 2003. The release noted that he “is an avid sailor and longtime champion of Virgin Islands economic development as well as the preservation of open lands.”
“Mingo Cay, like all of the United States Virgin Islands, is a natural treasure. These islands are a gift for all who have had the privilege of experiencing their breathtaking vistas, spending time in and on the Caribbean Sea, and witnessing local wildlife in their natural and undisturbed habitat,” Sussman said in a statement.
He added that while other Virgin Islands “continue to be developed to share that beauty with visitors from around the world, I have preserved Mingo Cay for the past 17 years and am pleased to entrust its future protection and preservation to TVIL.”
According to the statement, the Trust for Virgin Islands Lands is a nonprofit, community-based conservation organization. Its mission is to protect tracts of agricultural and natural landscapes that provide significant benefits to the citizens of the Virgin Islands.
Eleanor Gibney, a TVIL board member and former president of the St. John Historical Society said she was grateful for Sussman’s “generous decision to donate the cay to a Virgin Islands-based organization.”
“I am thrilled at the transfer of Mingo Cay to the Trust for Virgin Islands Lands,” Gibney, a horticulturist, said. “Mingo has great value to the natural and historic heritage of the Virgin Islands, and its importance as an open space and a refuge will certainly grow over the coming years.”
Sen. Myron Jackson, who did not seek re-election, said Tuesday that the preservation of Mingo Cay “will allow future generations of Virgin Islanders to experience its unique charms.”
“I want to really commend the donor for his stewardship and recognizing the importance of the preservation of our cays as a cultural resource and a natural habitat for all to enjoy,” Jackson said.
“Anyone who traverses these cays cannot say that they don’t have a greater appreciation for the natural beauty of this territory, and that can only be maintained by preserving them. So, on behalf of the people of this territory, a grateful thank you.”