steve and michele kirsch's reasons for giving

History of Charitable Giving

Major Philanthropists in Technology

Major Philanthropists in Technology

Once considered stingy with charitable giving, Silicon Valley has changed its reputation. The high-tech boom made millionaires practically overnight and this new group of wealthy individuals inspired philanthropy in the Valley and throughout the high-technology community. Although the dot-com bust reduced the wealth of many individuals, the role of philanthropy throughout the technology community was established and continues today.

Slate Magazine published its "1999 Slate 60" with many notable high-technology leaders on its list. Steve and Michele Kirsch were #8 on the list due to the significant contributions they made to the Kirsch Foundation endowment at Community Foundation Silicon Valley. The article, while dated in terms of current valuations of foundations and philanthropic efforts, is reprinted in its entirety with the permission of Slate to provide a snapshot of that initial period of technology-based charitable activity.

The 1999 Slate 60
The 60 largest American charitable contributions of 1999.
Compiled by Ann Castle
(Note: The list actually runs to 61. The last 15 contributors are tied at $15 million.)

1. BILL and MELINDA GATES—approximately $2.4 billion for 1999. This includes $40 million in the first quarter of the year; $245 million in the second quarter; $1.19 billion in the third quarter, and $956 million in the fourth quarter. (Some donations, such as gifts to libraries, were not included in this year's total.) In addition to the $1 million-plus gifts, the Gateses gave more than $20 million in gifts and grants of less than $1 million each. Some of the 1999 gifts were: $1 billion to the UNITED NEGRO COLLEGE FUND (Va.) for the Gates Millennium Scholars Program. .. $55 million to the UNITED WAY OF KING COUNTY (Wash.), an 11-year grant to increase the amount of funds distributed to health and social services organizations. ... $750 million to the GLOBAL FUND FOR CHILDREN'S VACCINES (Seattle), part of the Program for Appropriate Technologies in Health. ... $20 million to the MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY to construct the William H. Gates Building for the computer science and electronic engineering departments. ... $50 million for the CAMPAIGN TO ERADICATE POLIO BY THE END OF THE YEAR 2000 (Geneva, Switzerland). ... $1.5 million divided equally among the AMERICAN RED CROSS INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE FUND (Va.), CARE (Ga.), and the INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE (N.Y.) to aid Kosovo refugees. ... $50 million over five years to COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY (N.Y.) for a program in the Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health to reduce maternal deaths among women in developing countries by improving access to lifesaving treatment for women with serious obstetric problems. ... $5 million to POPULATION SERVICES INTERNATIONAL (Washington, D.C.) to help African-American adolescents protect their reproductive health. ... $25 million to RFSU, SWEDISH ASSOCIATION FOR SEX EDUCATION for male involvement, reproductive health, and HIV prevention. ... $25 million to SEQUELLA GLOBAL TUBERCULOSIS FOUNDATION (Md.). ... $10 million over five years to the WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (Switzerland) for a special program of research, development, and research training in human reproduction. ... $5 million to the COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF SILICON VALLEY (Calif.) for the United Way of Santa Clara County. ... $4 million to the SEATTLE ART MUSEUM toward the purchase of the last remaining undeveloped property on Seattle's downtown waterfront.

2. JAMES H. CLARK—$150 million to STANFORD UNIVERSITY to construct a biomedical-engineering center. The contribution, the largest single gift to Stanford since the founding grant and among the largest ever in higher education, will help build the James H. Clark Center for Biomedical Engineering and Sciences. It will also provide equipment for the facility, endow positions for faculty who will participate in the new effort, and fund graduate student fellowships. Clark founded Silicon Graphics, Netscape, Healtheon, and myCFO. He said he felt indebted to the university because as a Stanford professor in the early 1980s he was allowed to develop technologies that later brought him success in the private arena. He initiated discussions with university officials about a gift in October 1996. "I chose to do this because of my academic roots, and Stanford is a great place to do it. For me it's important to know that a gift is going to get the best leverage it possibly can," he said.

3. WARREN E. and SUSAN BUFFETT—a $134 million stock gift to four unnamed organizations. A spokeswoman at Buffett's company, Berkshire Hathaway, would not divulge either the names of the organizations receiving shares or the amounts going to each. Warren Buffett has declined all interview requests about the gift.

4. KENAN E. SAHIN—a $100 million unrestricted gift to MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY from the founder of software company Kenan Systems. Last year Sahin sold the company to Lucent Technologies for $1.45 billion in stock. In announcing his donation to MIT's $1.5 billion capital campaign, Sahin said, ''I can't tell you how much I have benefited from this institution.'' When Sahin was an engineering student at Robert College in Istanbul, he met the late Harold Hazen, then dean of graduate studies at MIT, who was acting as Robert's interim president. On Hazen's advice, Sahin attended MIT and the Sloan School of Management, earning a bachelor's degree in 1963 and a doctorate in 1969. Sahin taught and conducted research at MIT, Harvard University, and the University of Massachusetts until 1982 when he abandoned academic life to try his luck at running a business of his own. With a $1,000 investment, he founded Kenan Systems. The company developed special software for telecommunications companies to use in billing and customer service.

5. R.E. "TED" TURNER—$100 million to the UNITED NATIONS FOUNDATION (N.Y.)—the third year of his 10-year commitment to fund the organization. Turner is the founder of CNN and other media companies.

6. AUDREY JONES BECK—Forty-seven Impressionist and Postimpressionist paintings to the MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, HOUSTON. The museum would not disclose the value of the artworks, but experts have estimated their worth to be $80 million or more. The paintings, which include works by Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, and Pierre Auguste Renoir, have been on display at the gallery since 1974, along with 23 other works previously donated to the museum by Beck and her late husband, John. Beck is the daughter of the late Jesse Jones, the oil and newspaper magnate who founded Houston Endowment, Texas' largest philanthropic foundation.

7. FREDERICK A. and SHARON KLINGENSTEIN—$75 million to MOUNT SINAI SCHOOL OF MEDICINE (N.Y.), the largest single gift in the school's history. The gift will establish an institute devoted to scientific research and to further medical education through a new scholarship fund. Frederick Klingenstein, former chairman and a member of Mount Sinai's boards of trustees, said the gift reflects his family's longtime commitment to the Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The family has designated $50 million of the gift to establish the Klingenstein Institute for Medical Science devoted to research and $25 million to create the Joseph Klingenstein Scholarship Fund, named for Frederick Klingenstein's late father who served as chairman of Mount Sinai's boards of trustees. Frederick Klingenstein has been a member of the investment community for many years.

8. STEVE and MICHELLE KIRSCH—$70 million to the COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF SILICON VALLEY (Calif.) from the founder of Propel Software Corporation Software and former chair of Infoseek Corp., and his wife. Steve Kirsch is a member of the board of directors of the foundation. In 1999, the couple was named Outstanding Philanthropists of the Year by the Silicon Valley chapter of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives.

9. FRANK BATTEN SR.—$60 million to the UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA, in Charlottesville, for the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration. The amount is the largest ever given to a business school, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. Plans call for the donation to support professorships, scholarships, a fellows program to bring business executives to the school, and a venture-capital fund that students can mine to test entrepreneurial projects. Those programs will be housed at the Batten Institute, the successor to the Batten Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, which the media executive established with a $13.5 million gift in 1996. Batten is the retired chairman of Landmark Communications, an international media company with holdings that include the Virginian-Pilot newspaper and the Weather Channel. He graduated from the university's College of Arts and Sciences in 1950.
Photographs of: Bill and Melinda Gates by Jeff Christensen/Reuters; James H. Clark courtesy of Alexander Ogilvy Public Relations.

10. STEVEN FERENCZ UDVAR-HAZY—$60 million to the SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION (Washington, D.C.)—the museum's largest gift ever. Udvar-Hazy says he thought only five minutes before donating the money to help build a giant annex for the National Air and Space Museum. The $173 million complex will house nearly 200 historic airplanes and spacecraft at a facility in suburban Virginia. When the annex opens in 2003, visitors will see the 69,000-pound B-29 Enola Gay that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan; the space shuttle Enterprise; and the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird spy plane, which is more than 107 feet long. Udvar-Hazy is president of International Lease Finance Corp., a leading commercial aircraft owner and lessor, which has a portfolio of 400-plus jet aircraft valued at more than $18 billion.

11. PETER B. LEWIS—a total of $59.8 million: $55 million to PRINCETON UNIVERSITY (N.J.), of which $35 million will be used for the Institute for Integrative Genomics, from this 1955 graduate and trustee who is chairman and CEO of Progressive Corp., an auto insurance company based in Cleveland. Also, $4.8 million to CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY (Ohio) to construct the new campus of the Weatherhead School of Management. The gift augments previous pledges from Lewis to the school totaling $24 million.

12. JOSEPHINE CLAY FORD, RICHARD A. MANOOGIAN, and A. ALFRED TAUBMAN—$50 million to the DETROIT INSTITUTE OF ARTS to expand and improve the museum and build the institution's endowment. The contribution commences a $320 million fund-raising effort over a 10-year period to expand and repair the museum. Ford is a granddaughter of automotive pioneer Henry Ford; Manoogian is chairman of Masco Corp. in Taylor, Mich., and president of the museum's board of directors; Taubman is chairman of the Taubman Cos. in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., a real-estate concern, and a former chairman of Sotheby's, the art auction house. (Also see Taubman's gift to the University of Michigan below.) "I remember coming down to the DIA in a school bus and just being amazed by all the various collections," said Manoogian, whose company makes home-improvement and building products.

13. W. JEROME FRAUTSCHI—a second $50 million pledge to the CITY OF MADISON, Wis., for a downtown arts center. Frautschi made the second contribution to accelerate construction of the privately funded center, the city's Capital Times reported. The gift is one of the largest individual donations for an arts project in the United States. Plans call for a new multipurpose theater, a renovated Oscar Mayer Theater, an expanded Madison Art Center, and the creation of three small- to midsize performance spaces. Frautschi recently retired as vice chairman of Webcrafters Inc., a Madison-based printing company.

14. THOMAS MONAGHAN—$50 million to the AVE MARIA SCHOOL OF LAW, a Roman Catholic law school that the Domino's Pizza founder is creating. The Ave Maria School of Law will open in temporary quarters next year in Ann Arbor, Mich. Retired federal judge Robert Bork will be on the faculty, and Bernard Dobranski, currently dean of the Catholic University School of Law in Washington, has been named dean, the Associated Press reported. "I think it will be the West Point for Catholic laity in the years to come," Monaghan said. The 61-year-old Michigan native started Domino's in 1960. He sold most of his interest in the company to the Boston-based investment firm Bain Capital last year for an estimated $1 billion. He previously owned the Detroit Tigers baseball team. He is chairman of the Ave Maria Foundation and has supported Catholic preschools, elementary schools, and academies. He founded the Ave Maria Institute, a liberal arts college in Ypsilanti, Mich., last year.

15. ELMER E. RASMUSON—$50 million to the ANCHORAGE MUSEUM OF HISTORY AND ART from the former president and chairman of the National Bank of Alaska. The gift was announced at Rasmuson's 90th birthday party. Thirty-one years ago, as the mayor of Anchorage, Rasmuson was instrumental in getting the museum off the drawing board. He also gave $40 million to his family's foundation, which was established in 1957 by his mother, Jenny. The donation increases the foundation's assets fivefold. By law, the foundation must distribute 5 percent of its assets every year. The total of the gifts is believed to be the largest single donation by an individual in the history of Alaska.

16. HENRY and SUSAN SAMUELI—a total of $50 million: $30 million to UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT LOS ANGELES, its second-largest gift, and $20 million to the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT IRVINE, its largest cash gift. Samueli is co-founder of Broadcom Corp., a communications chip maker based in Irvine which he started while on leave from his work as a professor. "It's payback time," he said. "UCLA has been very understanding about my starting a company. I hope to help promote the next guy who is going to start a Broadcom."

17. JEFF SKOLL—a total of $47.5 million: $40 million to the COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF SILICON VALLEY to create a new fund from the vice president of eBay. Also, $7.5 million to his alma mater—the UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO—to finance a program that will let students simultaneously take a bachelor's degree in engineering and a master's in business administration. Of that amount, $4.5 million will be used to create two permanent chairs at the faculty of applied science in engineering and one chair at the Joseph Rotman School of Management. The remaining $3 million will help finance construction of a new information technology facility that will house the expanded engineering and computer sciences programs, as well as the new engineering-MBA program.

18. ALICE and LEONARD SAMUEL SKAGGS JR.—$42 million to the CATHOLIC ARCHDIOCESE OF SALT LAKE CITY, possibly the largest gift ever in support of a Roman Catholic primary and secondary school. The plans for the school complex include a 57-acre campus with 75 classrooms, three gymnasiums, a 1,350-seat auditorium, two libraries, five baseball fields, football and soccer stadiums, and a 1.5-mile cross-country trail. The buildings will be wired with 14 miles of fiber-optic cable for computer and telecommunications systems. The school was designed in the monastic cloister tradition, with a center courtyard containing a 99-foot tower, grotto, and reflecting pool. Leonard Skaggs is the retired chairman of the American Stores Co. a Salt Lake City-based drug and grocery chain founded by his father and his Baptist minister grandfather. In 1996 the Skaggs family gave $100 million to San Diego's Scripps Research Institute.

19. STEVE and JEAN CASE—a total of over $40 million: $10 million over three years to POWERUP: BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE (Va.). ... $1 million to D.C. COLLEGE ACCESS (Washington, D.C.). ... $1 million-plus to AMERICA'S PROMISE (Va.). ... $1 million-plus to HABITAT FOR HUMANITY (Va.), and more than $30 million in other gifts, including many under $1 million. The family's foundation was created recently with a $150 million gift. It will focus on underserved children in the areas of technology, health care, and education, especially but not exclusively in the Northern Virginia area. Case is a co-founder of America Online.

20. IRWIN HELFORD—$36 million to the CITY OF HOPE NATIONAL MEDICAL CENTER in Duarte, Calif. The gift is the largest ever to the cancer-research center and will help build a new $154 million hospital to replace the current 50-year-old building. Helford said he was touched by the compassion and quality of care at City of Hope and that his gift was prompted by a need for more caring treatment in an era when hospitals seem money-driven and callous. Helford said he was "hooked" by City of Hope after he met an uninsured 11-year-old girl who was cured of a grapefruit-size tumor on her hip by the hospital's doctors. Helford, 64, is chairman of Viking Office Products and vice chairman of Office Depot, with which Viking merged in 1998. Helford dropped out of college to join the Navy for a brief stint during the Korean War and never returned to get his degree. He started his management career at Reliable Stationery in Chicago, where he stayed for 23 years. In 1983, he moved to California to head Viking.

21. EDMUND T. PRATT JR.—$35 million to DUKE UNIVERSITY (N.C.) to endow the School of Engineering, which will be named in honor of the retired Pfizer Inc. chairman and CEO. The gift is the second largest in Duke's history, surpassed only by the school's original gift of $40 million by cigarette magnate James B. Duke in 1924. Pratt graduated from Duke magna cum laude in 1947 with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. He received a master's degree in business administration from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business in 1949. Pratt worked for IBM Corp. until 1962, when he became President Kennedy's assistant secretary of the Army for financial management. He joined pharmaceutical maker Pfizer as corporate controller in 1964. By the time Pratt retired in 1992, the company's annual revenues were nearly $7 billion per year and the company's operations had spread to 140 countries.

22. ALBERTO W. VILAR—a total of more than $33 million: a $16 million pledge to the ROYAL OPERA HOUSE, Covent Garden, London, England. The main new foyer in the redeveloped theater will be named the Vilar Floral Hall. $2 million of the gift will fund a Young Artists Program. Also, $10 million to his alma mater, WASHINGTON AND JEFFERSON COLLEGE (Pa.), for a new technology center—the largest gift in the school's history. Plus $5 million to CARNEGIE HALL (New York City): $2.5 million to restore the Seventh Avenue façade, $1.5 million to underwrite performances by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and $1 million in general operating expenses. Also, $1 million to the VILAR CENTER FOR THE ARTS (Beaver Creek, Colo.) to promote a distinguished artists series program to attract world-class artists. In 1999 he gave more than $1 million to underwrite productions at the Kirov (Mariinsky) Opera and Ballet Co. (St. Petersburg, Russia), the Salzburg Festival (Salzburg, Austria), the Spoleto Festival (Spoleto, Italy), the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Festspielhaus (Baden-Baden, Germany), as well as sponsoring the Worldwide Competition for Young Singers known as Operalia. He is the founder of Amerindo Investment Advisors.

23. RON BURKLE, TED FORSTMANN, and JOHN WALTON—an additional $30 million to the CHILDREN'S SCHOLARSHIP FUND. Low-income families with children entering grades K-to-8 in the United States are eligible to apply to the foundation's lottery that will award 40,000 four-year partial tuition scholarships. With the expansion, CSF awarded nearly $170 million in scholarships in April. Forstmann is the co-founder of the investment firm Forstmann Little & Co.; Ron Burkle is the managing partner of the Yucaipa Cos.; and John Walton is a director of Wal-Mart.

24. A. ALFRED TAUBMAN—$30 million to the UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN for the School of Architecture and Urban Planning, the most generous single gift ever made to a school of architecture in the United States. (Also, see Taubman's group gift above to the Detroit Institute of Arts.) The university has renamed the school in Taubman's honor. He attended the University of Michigan College of Architecture and Urban Planning and has been a longtime friend and adviser to the college. In 1991, the university awarded Taubman an honorary degree. One of the university's most generous benefactors, he contributed to the university's A. Alfred Taubman Health Care Center and Taubman Medical Library. This latest gift to the university is the largest gift he has made to any institution.

25. HENRY B. TIPPIE—a $30 million pledge to the UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, the largest gift ever made by an individual to the university and the fifth-largest donation to the business department of any U.S. college. The College of Business Administration will be renamed the Henry B. Tippie College of Business in honor of the alumnus. Tippie, who graduated from the university with an accounting degree in 1949, made his first donation of $10 to the U of I in 1957. Every year since, he has donated money. From an impoverished childhood, Tippie now holds interests in several multimillion-dollar companies and is the vice chairman of the board of the Rollins Truck Leasing Corp. The $30 million includes $3 million in past donations, as well as commitments for the future.

26. JOE and TERESA LONG—a total of $26.2 million; $20 million to the ARTS CENTER STAGE in Austin, Texas, to help renovate Palmer Auditorium into a multi-venue performing arts center, which will be renamed the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Center for the Performing Arts. The gift is the largest cash gift to the arts in the city's history. "I heard Arturo Toscanini conduct the New York Philharmonic almost 50 years ago in Gregory Gym [at the University of Texas]," Joe Long said. "There was quite a to-do in the papers, even then, about the lack of proper acoustics." Both Longs grew up in small Texas towns. They met while teaching school in Alice, Texas, after both attended the University of Texas in the 1940s. "The money convinced Joe he didn't want to stay in the teaching profession," Teresa Long said. She earned a doctorate in education in 1965; Joe graduated from UT Law School in 1958 and practiced financial law in Austin for many years. He merged two local institutions to create First State Bank. In 1998, Long sold his 94 percent interest in the bank to Minneapolis-based Norwest Bank. The Longs gave an additional $6.2 million to the UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN for scholarships and professorships.

27. WALTER J. KLEIN—a film and videotape archive worth approximately $25 million to the NORTH CAROLINA SCHOOL OF THE ARTS from this Charlotte, N.C., founder of the film production company that bears his name. The collection comprises some 1,000 commercials, documentaries, and short films made for corporations and other institutions over the past 50 years. The collection's monetary estimate comes from the company's own records and represents what the materials cost to produce at the time, said Klein's son Robert, who is president of the Walter J. Klein Co.

28. DAVID H. KOCH—$25 million over 10 years to the MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY for the Center for Cancer Research from this alumnus. While no definitive decision has been reached on how to distribute the funds, the donation may be used to support postdoctoral work and to sponsor chairs for cancer research. Although Koch has not stipulated the type of cancer research he wishes to fund, he has expressed a great interest in the study of prostate cancer. MIT President Charles M. Vest said, "Major funding with such flexibility will enable us to very significantly strengthen our world-class basic cancer research. ... The level of this gift in support of research is unprecedented in modern MIT history." Koch and his family earned their fortunes in the oil business.

29. THE MILKEN FAMILY FOUNDATION—a second $25 million commitment to CaP CURE, the nonprofit organization the Milken family created in 1993 with an initial $25 million gift. Michael Milken was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1993 and has lost several family members to cancer. Milken created the Association for the Cure of Cancer of the Prostate (CaP CURE) shortly after he was diagnosed with the disease. CaP CURE was founded to fund prostate cancer research and to convert that research into treatments and cures. In the past five years, CaP CURE has awarded more than $50 million to more than 350 research projects worldwide. It has become the largest private source of prostate cancer research funding in the United States, second only to the National Cancer Institute. Milken was a Wall Street financier.

30. ROBERT E. and MARGIE PETERSEN—$25 million to the PETERSEN AUTOMOTIVE MUSEUM in Los Angeles. The gift will pay off the money-losing museum's remaining debt under a plan that would turn operations over to a nonprofit operation. The museum has suffered financially because of low attendance. Robert Petersen is the 72-year-old retired chairman of EMAP Corp. and led the drive to start the 5-year-old museum. He has previously contributed $5 million to it, pledged an additional $1 million, and promised $10 million more upon his death. Robert Petersen started Hot Rod magazine 50 years ago, taking his own photographs at the track and producing the magazine in his garage, selling each issue for 25 cents.

31. JANE BRADLEY PETTIT—$25 million toward the construction of a new public technical high school in Milwaukee. The building will be named the Lynde and Harry Bradley Technical and Trade School after Pettit's father and uncle. Project sources said that Pettit wanted to give back to the industrial economy and to the south side neighborhood where her family made its fortunes. The Bradleys, using money borrowed from a doctor named Allen, founded the Allen-Bradley Co. in 1903.

32. WILLIAM A. and JOAN PORTER—$25 million to the MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY for the Sloan School of Business to construct a facility that will consolidate research, teaching, and staff and student functions. The building will be named the William A. Porter Management Center. The Porters made their gift to foster a closer marriage between Sloan's strength in management and the technology prowess found throughout MIT. A new Sloan facility will enable the School to expand its entrepreneurship efforts. Porter, founder of the Internet brokerage E*Trade, graduated from Sloan in 1967.

33. ALVIN J. and RUTH SITEMAN—a $25 million pledge to WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY and BARNES-JEWISH HOSPITAL in St. Louis to support research, treatment, and educational research in their combined cancer programs at the university's medical school and at the hospital. The Sitemans had given Barnes-Jewish Hospital $10 million in 1997 for the center. In recognition of the Sitemans' gift, the university and hospital will name all their combined cancer programs—including more than 300 cancer-related research and training grants and the cancer care and research facilities under construction—the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center. Alvin Siteman, president of the Siteman Organization, was chairman of Mark Twain Bancshares Inc. when it merged with Mercantile Bancorporation in 1997. He is chairman and president of Site Oil Co. of Missouri and Flash Oil Corp. He is on the board of Barnes-Jewish and chairs the hospital's foundation. Ruth Siteman is a graduate of Washington University's University College.

34. FLORA L. THORNTON—a $25 million cash gift to the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA for its music school. The school said it was the largest donation ever made to a music school in the United States. The music school will be renamed for Thornton, 85, the widow of Charles "Tex" Thornton, the founder of Litton Industries. Thornton decided that if her foundation could not afford to give the entire gift, she would draw it from her personal fortune. "I thought the size of the gift was not out of line and I was in a position to do it," Thornton said. "My children are taken care of and I will not go hungry." Thornton has made many other gifts to the arts and in medicine, including $1 million to the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

35. RAYMOND NEAG—$23 million to the UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT, its largest gift ever, from a member of the class of 1956. Neag is a Torrington, Conn., native who now lives in Reading, Pa. He co-founded Arrow International Inc., medical equipment manufacturer, and is now vice chairman of the company. Connecticut's Gov. John G. Rowland said the state will add to Neag's gift with a $4.3 million contribution. Neag's gift is the largest to any public university in New England: $21 million of it is for the School of Education, the largest single gift ever made to an education department, and $2 million is for the school's health center. The gift to the School of Education will be used to support two of its nationally recognized centers of excellence, as well as to build new centers, to support outreach programs for faculty in Connecticut schools, and to recruit top graduate students. Funds for the health center will support a chair in the School of Medicine.

36. WILLIAM DAVIDSON—$20 million to the WEIZMANN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE in Rehovot, Israel—the largest private donation ever made to the facility. The gift was made in conjunction with Davidson's company, Guardian Industries, the Auburn Hill, Mich.-based glass company. The gift will be used to establish the Davidson Institute of Science Education. The facility is expected to serve as an incubator for programs that will improve science teaching and ignite a passion for science among all students, particularly those from disadvantaged neighborhoods, said Haim Harari, president of the Weizmann Institute. Davidson is also managing partner of the Detroit Pistons and an owner of The Palace of Auburn Hills, a basketball arena.

37. BERNARD GORDON—$20 million to TUFTS UNIVERSITY (Mass.) to enhance its engineering program from the chairman of Analogic Corp. Gordon pioneered inventions such as the CAT scan and Doppler radar. He designated his gift to shape a curriculum at Tufts that will ground engineers in the liberal arts and improve their communication skills.

38. CARL ICAHN—$20 million to PRINCETON UNIVERSITY for a new laboratory building to study genes and their functions. The genomics building will be named for Icahn, a 1957 Princeton alumnus and philosophy major. He said he was drawn to genomics because it offers "new insight into the nature of life itself." In June, Peter B. Lewis gave Princeton $35 million for an Institute for Integrative Genomics, which will be housed in the new laboratory. Icahn is a financier.

39. JOSEPH J. JACOBS—$20 million to POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY (N.Y.) from this engineer and lifetime trustee who said he was inspired by the nearly $175 million estate gift the university received last year from his friend and mentor Donald Othmer, a longtime Poly professor, and his wife, Margaret. The gift is intended to allow the university to proceed with several building projects, including a new design and innovation center and the first dormitory on the Brooklyn campus. Jacobs, who holds four Poly degrees, is the founder of the Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., an international engineering and construction firm. He and his wife, Violet, have given more than $30 million to Poly since the late 1970s.

40. ROBERT G. MONDAVI—$20 million to the AMERICAN CENTER FOR WINE, FOOD AND THE ARTS, an educational and cultural center that will break ground June 1 in Napa Valley, Calif. "This project is a culmination of my lifelong professional dream to create a center that will celebrate and study America's unique contribution to food, wine, their history, and the arts and humanities," said Mondavi, chairman of the Robert Mondavi Winery. In 1997, Mondavi made a $2 million challenge gift to restore the historic Theatre at the Opera House in downtown Napa.

41. RICHARD J. SOLOVE—$20 million to OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY, the second-largest gift the university has received. The gift supports work at a cancer hospital where cancer genetics research is conducted. The facility will be renamed the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. The gift will be used to recruit researchers to expand the program. Solove's involvement with James began in 1953, when his father was diagnosed with cancer. Solove befriended his father's physician, Arthur James, and the two have worked to create a free-standing cancer hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Solove lobbied the state legislature to help fund the cancer hospital and later became a founding board member and ongoing supporter. ''I would like to think that what I'm doing is for humanity,'' he said. ''I'd much rather be thought of as helping to cure cancer than to be thought of as a real-estate developer or a pharmacist.'' Solove graduated from OSU's pharmacy school. He is the managing partner of R. J. Solove & Associates, a real-estate development firm he founded in Columbus.

42. VERNE A. WILLAMAN—$20 million to PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY to endow the deanship of the Eberly College of Science and Medicine and to augment endowments that Willaman established previously for professorships and scholarships. Willaman has given Penn State more than $27 million over the years, making him one of the schools most generous benefactors. Willaman is a 1951 alumnus and a member of the executive committee of Johnson & Johnson. He was president of Ortho Pharmaceutical Corp. from 1969 to 1976 and a director for Johnson & Johnson from 1977 to 1988. "I feel I owe Penn State something for all the good things it did for me," he said. "My college training in chemistry was excellent and gave me a solid foundation for my career. Also, my parents were strong believers in education—my mother taught school for 40 years—and their beliefs have influenced my own values very strongly."

43. MAIDA and GEORGE ABRAMS—a trove of 17th-century Dutch drawings worth as much as $20 million to the Fogg Art Museum at HARVARD UNIVERSITY (Mass.) from these Newton, Mass., residents. The 10 drawings include works by Rembrandt, Pieter Bruegel, and Adriaen van Ostade. "The reason this is going to a teaching museum rather than a repository is so students can hold these drawings in their hands and get the magic feeling from that," said George Abrams, who graduated from Harvard College in 1954 and Harvard Law School in 1957. George Abrams' interest in Dutch art began when, as a law student, he worked in the Netherlands for two summers. Over the years the Abramses have given nearly 100 drawings to the Fogg and also donated works to several other museums. George Abrams is a corporate attorney.

44. GREGORY C. CARR—$18 million to HARVARD UNIVERSITY for a new research center focused on human rights policy at the university's Kennedy School of Government. The new center will examine the policies and actions of governments, international organizations, and independent actors that affect the realization of human rights. The gift—the largest ever from a Kennedy School alumnus—includes an endowment for operating support, a professorship, and funds for facilities to be named the Carr Center. Greg Carr co-founded Boston Technology Inc. in 1986 and served as CEO and then chairman of the board. In 1996, he also became chairman of Prodigy Inc. of White Plains, N.Y., an Internet service provider. Earlier this year, Carr sold a portion of his interest in Prodigy and formed the Gregory C. Carr Foundation Inc. Carr said his interest in human rights started in 1995 when he met Chinese dissident Harry Wu. "There is a very personal moment when you think, 'If I am going to be on this planet, and I am going to enjoy these rights, we have to get to work so everyone can enjoy them,' " Carr said.

45. GLORYA KAUFMAN—$18 million to UCLA to renovate its dance facility. She is the widow of Donald Kaufman, co-founder of the construction firm Kaufman & Broad, and a longtime supporter of UCLA dance programs. "My hope is that students learn to communicate with each other and develop friendships and understanding through their studies in the World Arts and Cultures programs," Kaufman said. "Dance and music are an international language. With it, we can touch everyone."

46. ROBERT and JANICE McNAIR—$17.5 million to RICE UNIVERSITY (Texas) for the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management to finance new facilities and programs. The donation is one of the largest gifts from an individual to the college. Robert McNair, a University of South Carolina graduate, founded Cogen Technologies in 1984, a cogenerator of electricity. Earlier this year, Enron Corp. bought a majority of Cogen's assets. Robert McNair is the franchise holder for Houston's yet-to-be-named National Football League team. In 1998 the McNairs gave $22 million in gifts, $20 million to the University of South Carolina and $2 million to the South Carolina Aquarium.

47. ARTHUR M. BLANK FAMILY—as much as $15 million through the family foundation for a new ATLANTA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA HALL in Atlanta. The family is also leading the campaign to name the building after legendary ASO conductor Robert Shaw. $10 million of the gift is outright and $5 million is a challenge, to be paid if three other $5 million donations can be found. The larger gift will include naming the hall's grand lobby after the Blank family, including Arthur Blank's mother, Molly Blank, who introduced her son to classical music when he was a teen-ager. The family also wants to find a way to honor Yoel Levi, ASO music director, whose contract is not being renewed beyond next season. Arthur Blank is co-founder of The Home Depot. Earlier this year he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he will donate at least 75 percent of his fortune to his family foundation. Blank said his wife and three grown children understand and support his intentions. "Our children need to climb their own mountains, and they want their own challenges."

48. DORIS and JAY CHRISTOPHER—$15 million to CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY, in River Forest, Ill., to construct a center that will consolidate the College of Education and its early-childhood laboratory school. Doris Christopher, CEO of the Pampered Chef, a company that sells kitchen tools, and her husband, Jay, also designated a portion of their gift for yet-to-be-determined capital needs.

49. RICHARD B. and JEANNE DONOVAN FISHER—$15 million to BARD COLLEGE (N.Y.) for a new performing arts center designed by Frank O. Gehry. The gift will also support an endowment for operations and programming. Richard B. Fisher is chairman of the executive committee and director of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. and a trustee of the college. He is also chairman of the boards of the Urban Institute and Rockefeller University and chairman of the Brooklyn Academy of Music Endowment Trust.

50. CYRUS and MYRTLE KATZEN—a total of $15 million: $10 million to AMERICAN UNIVERSITY (Washington, D.C.) to construct a new arts center and an accompanying gift of art works—which includes pieces by Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, and Andy Warhol—valued at $5 million. Cyrus Katzen has had successful careers in real-estate development, banking, and dentistry in the Washington area. He organized two banking institutions that are now part of First Union Bank. His dentistry career spanned 25 years.

51. KIRK KERKORIAN—$15 million to the AMERICAN RED CROSS for earthquake reconstruction and relief efforts in Armenia. Kerkorian, who is of Armenian descent, is the majority stockholder of MGM-UA Communications and also owns a substantial portion of DaimlerChrysler. In 1998 he made a $200 million pledge to benefit the people of Armenia.

52. DANIEL KOSHLAND—$15 million to HAVERFORD COLLEGE (Pa.) for a new science facility. Koshland is a biochemist. The complex will be named after Koshland's late wife, Marian, an immunologist.

53. JUDSON H. KROEZE—$15 million to the UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI to finance programs in liberal arts and to endow the Department of Microbiology. The donor is the grandson of Judson Holman, a founder of the grocery chain Jitney-Jungle Stores of America. "Through my work with Jitney Jungle, I saw that Ole Miss turns out the leadership of this state," Kroeze said. "I've always been very grateful to the Lord and to all the Mississippians who made Jitney Jungle successful. Therefore, I wanted my resources to have a perpetuating effect. For me, the choice was Ole Miss, where this gift will generate new and additional benefits for young people."

54. ELKIN B., DONNA, and KERRY McCALLUM—$15 million to BENTLEY COLLEGE (Mass.) The gift will be used to support Bentley's integration of information technology with business education. Bentley will rename its graduate school of business for Elkin McCallum. "My education at Bentley provided a terrific foundation in business," Elkin McCallum said. He is chairman and CEO of Joan Fabrics Corp. in Lowell, Mass. The $15 million is one of the largest contributions ever from a single donor or family to a New England business school, according to the college, located in Waltham. The McCallum family had previously contributed $1.25 million. Of the decision to make a much larger gift, McCallum said, "It seemed to be the right time, because it coincided nicely with where the school is headed today."

55. CRAIG and SUSAN McCAW—a total of $15 million from the family foundation: $7.5 million to the Nelson Mandela Foundation and $7.5 million to the Foundation for Community Development. Both organizations are working to bring health care, education, economic development, and peace to the African continent.  Craig McCaw serves as chairman of Ocean Futures Society, which is focused on raising the world's awareness of issues relating to the health of the oceans. He is the founder of McCaw Cellular, which was sold to AT&T in 1994 for $11.5 billion. He is now chairman of Teledesic.

56. STANFORD N. PHELPS—$15 million to PHILLIPS EXETER ACADEMY (N.H.) for a science center from the chairman of Commonwealth Oil Refining. The gift is the single largest gift ever made to a high-school science facility, according to the school. "Science and technology are changing the world, and a new science center is right where Exeter should be," Phelps said. He is a 1952 graduate of the school.

57. CLARICE SMITH—$15 million in operating funds to the UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND AT COLLEGE PARK for its performing arts center from this artist and art collector. It equals the amount donated a year ago by her husband, Crystal City, Va., developer Robert H. Smith, for the business school that now bears his name. The family's donations to the school now exceed $30 million, making them the largest donors ever to a Maryland public university. Clarice Smith attended the University of Maryland for two years in the early 1950s. She left to raise a family and later studied at the Corcoran College of Art and Design; received degrees from George Washington University, where she also taught; and became a renowned painter of portraits, landscapes, and equestrian subjects.

58. GEORGE SOROS—$15 million to create a new initiative called MEDICINE AS A PROFESSION aimed at fighting "the corrupting influence of money in medicine." The billionaire investor-activist told a group of doctors at Columbia University, "There is unanimity among doctors, deans, historians, and health economists that money has never been so much in the forefront of medicine or potentially so powerful in determining medical decisions."

59. H. STEPHEN STEHANE—$15 million to BETHANY COLLEGE (W.Va.) to construct an academic center that will be named in memory of his father, Howard Stehane. The donor, an engineer in Columbus, Ga., is chairman of Consolidated Fusion Technologies.

60. ELTON B. and JAMES T. STEPHENS—$15 million to BIRMINGHAM-SOUTHERN COLLEGE (Ala.): a $10 million gift toward a new science facility and $5 million in matching funds. Elton Stephens is a Birmingham-Southern alumnus and a life member of the board of trustees. His son James serves as trustee chairman of the academic affairs committee of the board of trustees. "Birmingham-Southern's commitment to the liberal arts college education, its excellence with undergraduate science teaching, and our confidence in education for society's betterment make this gift a reward in the giving," said the younger Stephens.

61. KEMMONS WILSON—$15 million to the UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS (Tenn.) to start the state's first program in hotel and restaurant management from the founder of Holiday Inn. The gift will pay for a four-story building on university property that will include classrooms, banquet facilities for up to 800 people, and a working 80-room hotel. "There comes a time in everyone's life when you begin to think of your legacy. When you're as old as I am, you have a lot of time to think," said Wilson, 86. Wilson, a high-school dropout, opened the first Holiday Inn in Memphis in 1952 and went on with longtime business partner Wallace Johnson to build the hotel chain.

Back to top

home | who we are | how to apply for grants | what we've done
what we care about | why give