Julie Jenkins Fancelli is the heiress to the multibillion-dollar Publix Super Markets fortune who helped to fund then-President Donald Trump‘s “Save America March” in Washington, D.C., that took place before rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Fancelli donated approximately $300,000 of the $500,000 that was raised to fund the event. The newspaper reported that Fancelli’s donation was arranged by conservative radio host Alex Jones, who according to PBS’ Frontline helped spread false claims that the election had been stolen from Trump.
Federal Election Commission records show Fancelli donated more than $2.6 million to Republican causes in 2019 and 2020 under the names of both Julia Fancelli and Julia Fancelli.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Fancelli Offered Money for a January 6 Event but Says She Does Not ‘Support Any Violence,’ the Wall Street Journal Reported
Trump and his allies promoted January 6 as a monumental day in his effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. It was the day on which Congress would certify the results from the states declaring then-President-elect Joe Biden as the winner. As the Washington Post reported, several Republican-affiliated groups planned rallies and other events for January 6.
Fancelli was among the Trump supporters who wanted to get involved. The Wall Street Journal, citing event organizers, reported that Fancelli reached out to Jones and offered to contribute funds. According to the newspaper, Jones connected Fancelli to Caroline Wren, a Trump 2020 fundraiser, who was coordinating “the logistics of a rally with Women for America First.”
Fancelli issued a brief statement to the Journal on January 31: “I am a proud conservative and have real concerns associated with election integrity, yet I would never support any violence, particularly the tragic and horrific events that unfolded on January 6th.”
2. Publix Quickly Issued a Statement Saying Fancelli Does Not Represent the Company
Fancelli’s father, George W. Jenkins, founded Publix Super Markets Inc., but Fancelli herself is not associated with the company’s operations. Hours after the Wall Street Journal published its investigation linking Fancelli to the January 6 rally, Publix publicly distanced itself from Fancelli and her political donations.
Publix posted the following statement on Twitter:
Mrs. Fancelli is not an employee of Publix Super Markets, and is neither involved in our business operations, nor does she represent the company in any way. We cannot comment on Mrs. Fancelli’s actions.
The violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6 was a national tragedy. The deplorable actions that occurred that day do not represent the values, work or opinions of Publix Super Markets.
3. Fancelli Was the President of Her Father’s Charitable Foundation as of 2019, According to Tax Filings
Fancelli may not be an employee of Publix, but she was affiliated with a nonprofit foundation named after her father. According to a 2019 tax filing obtained by ProPublica, Fancelli served as the president of George Jenkins Foundation Inc.
The tax filing shows Fancelli was not paid for her role. It also shows that she donated at least 2% of the total contributions the foundation received that year.
The foundation brought in a significant amount of money that year. The 2019 tax filing to the IRS shows the foundation brought in more than $1.5 million in contributions and investment capital gains for the year and had more than $28 million in assets.
According to Grantmakers, the George Jenkins Foundation has donated money to organizations in Florida including the Lakeland Regional Health Foundation, the United Way of Central Floridaand Academy Prep Foundation, Inc.
4. Fancelli Donated Millions of Dollars to GOP Causes, Including Trump’s Reelection Campaign, in 2019 & 2020
Fancelli is a prominent Republican donor. Public records on the Federal Election Commission website — under the names Julie Fancelli, Mrs. Julie Jenkins Fancelli, Julie J Fancelli and Julia Fancelli — show she donated more than $2.6 million to Republican causes in 2019 and 2020.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Fancelli donated just under $1 million “in the 2020 election cycle to a joint account for the Trump campaign and Republican Party.”
FEC records show that between 2016 and 2020, Fancelli donated nearly $2 million to the Trump Victory PAC. She also gave more than $550,000 to the Republican National Committee over the same time period.
The FEC records show Fancelli lives in Lakeland, Florida, which is located east of Tampa. Her donor record also lists her as being retired.
5. Fancelli Is an Heiress to a Nearly $9 Billion Family Fortune & Is Married to an Italian Business Owner
According to Publix’s website, founder George Jenkins decided to open his own grocery store after managing a Piggly Wiggly in New Haven, Florida. He opened the first Publix in 1930. The chain now includes more than 1,100 locations and brings in billions of dollars per year. The site states that Publix earned $34 billion in 2016.
The grocery store chain has made the Jenkins family one of the wealthiest in the United States. Forbes reported that as of December 2020, the family fortune was valued at just under $9 billion. According to the outlet, Publix employees own about 80% of the company while Jenkins family members own the other 20%.
Fancelli is not on the Publix board of directors but as an heiress, she received her share of the company fortune. Polk County property records show she owns a mansion in Lakeland, Florida, that she appears to have built in 1993. The property is now valued at more than $2.7 million, according to property records.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Fancelli attended the University of Florida. She met her husband, Mauro Adolfo Dino Fancelli, during a study abroad program in Italy and they got married in 1972. The outlet reported that Mauro Fancelli ran a family “fruit and vegetable wholesale business” in Florence. According to The Ledger, Fancelli and her husband primarily live in Florence but return to Lakeland during the winter.