The 2003 Slate 60: Top Pledges

Analysis of the year's biggest philanthropists.
Feb. 16 2004 10:27 AM

The 2003 Slate 60: Top Pledges

The 60 largest American charitable contributions of the year.

Donors Who Pledged $25 Million or More


Robert and Jane Meyerhoff—a $300 million pledge to the National Gallery of Art. Robert Meyerhoff, a real-estate developer, and his wife, Jane, who live in Phoenix, Md., promised to give art valued at approximately $300 million to the National Gallery of Art, in Washington. The collection, which is to be transferred after their deaths, includes more than 100 works by 20th-century European and American artists, including pieces by Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, and Frank Stella.

Irwin and Joan Jacobs—a $110 million pledge to the University of California-San Diego. Irwin Jacobs, 70, chairman and chief executive officer of Qualcomm, a wireless-communications company in San Diego, and his wife, Joan, pledged $110 million to the University of California-San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, in La Jolla. A university spokeswoman said Irwin and Joan Jacobs would pay $10 million of the gift over the next five years to recruit new faculty to the engineering school and to support the Jacobs Scholars and Fellows program, which the couple established in 2000 to award scholarships and fellowships to graduate and undergraduate students. The remaining $100 million is composed of a charitable remainder trust and a pledge to make a bequest. Of the $100 million, 60 percent will go toward unrestricted endowment support for faculty recruitment and retention and other uses determined by the school. An additional 25 percent will ensure the continuation of the Jacobs Scholars and Fellows program. The remaining 15 percent will finance endowed faculty chairs jointly appointed by the Jacobs School and the university's Rady School of Management. Irwin Jacobs served on the school of engineering faculty from 1966 to 1972.

Peter M. and Virginia L. Nicholas—a $72 million pledge to Duke University. Peter Nicholas, 62, co-founder and chairman of Boston Scientific, a medical-research company in Natick, Mass., and his wife, Virginia, 61, co-owner of Open Market, a retailer in Concord, Mass., that sells crafts made by people around the world, committed $72 million to Duke University, in Durham, N.C., on Dec. 31, 2003, the last day of the eight-year Campaign for Duke, which the couple chairs. The gift added to the approximately $58 million they had given previously to the capital campaign, including a gift of $25 million to the Nicholas Faculty Leadership Initiative, as well as others to the university's business and divinity schools, its medical center, and its college of arts and sciences. Of the latest gift, $70 million will support the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences.

Paul G. Allen—a $58 million pledge to Experience Science Fiction and the Paul G. Allen Foundations. Allen, 51, co-founder of Microsoft and founder and chairman of the investment firm Vulcan Inc., both in the Seattle metropolitan area, pledged $20 million to help construct and operate what currently is known as Experience Science Fiction, a new museum in Seattle dedicated to science-fiction art, film, and literature. The museum will be located in the same facility as the Experience Music Project, a museum in Seattle that Allen established in 2000. Allen also pledged $38 million to arts, medical, community, and other groups through the Paul G. Allen Foundations.

Boone and Nelda Pickens—a $55 million pledge to the Oklahoma State University Foundation. Boone Pickens, 75, chief executive of BP Capital, in Dallas, and his wife, Nelda, 55, will establish a $20 million trust for renovations to the Oklahoma State University football stadium. Income from the trust will be used for scholarships. The couple also promised to bequeath $35 million to Oklahoma State. Boone Pickens graduated from the university in 1951.

Morris Silverman—a $50 million pledge to the International Center for Nursing. Silverman, 91, founder of National Equipment Rental, in New York, pledged $50 million to the International Center for Nursing, in Albany, N.Y. The center, which is not yet built, will promote the nursing profession through scholarships, fund raising, and other programs, and will explore ways to increase respect for the profession. Silverman established a fund last year that will provide the center with $500,000 annually for 100 years, according to his spokeswoman. The center is scheduled to receive its first payment in May.

Guy and Virginia (Betty) Beatty—a $40 million pledge to the Virginia College Fund. Guy Beatty, chairman of the Beatty Companies, a real-estate development enterprise in McLean, Va., and his wife, Betty, established a trust worth $40 million to benefit the Virginia College Fund, an organization in Richmond that raises money for five Virginia colleges and universities. The trust will make a payment of $1.3 million to the fund each year for 30 years. The money is earmarked for scholarships and technology improvements at the five institutions.

Roland Tseng—a $38 million pledge, of which $9.5 million was paid in 2003, to California State University at Northridge. Tseng, 48, a Northern California entrepreneur and inventor, pledged to California State University at Northridge Chinese antiquities that Sotheby's, an appraisal company, has valued at $38 million. California State has already received works valued at $9.5 million, including a 3,000-year-old gold and bronze ritual vessel estimated to be worth $5.5 million. Tseng said that he would donate the remaining items over the next four years.

Phillip and Patricia Frost—a $33 million pledge to University of Miami School of Music. Phillip Frost, 67, chairman and chief executive officer of IVAX Corp., in Miami, a pharmaceuticals company, and his wife, Patricia, 66, an educator, gave a combined cash and planned gift of $33 million to the University of Miami School of Music. The donation, which kicked off the university's capital campaign, will support the school's endowment, faculty chairs, and student scholarships. Phillip Frost is chairman of the university's board of trustees and co-chairman of the capital campaign.

Jerre and Mary Joy Stead—a $25 million pledge to the University of Iowa Foundation. Jesse Stead, retired chairman and chief executive officer of Ingram Micro, a distributor of technology products and services in Santa Ana, Calif., and his wife, Mary Joy, pledged $25 million to the University of Iowa Foundation, in Iowa City. Of the gift, $3.9 million will be paid over the next 10 years and will be used for capital improvements, programs, technology, and a professorship in leadership at the Henry B. Tippie College of Business. The balance of the pledge will be fulfilled after their deaths.


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