The 2004 Slate 60: Donations
The 60 largest American charitable contributions of the year.
Robert C. Atkins—$40 million to the Dr. Robert C. Atkins Foundation. Atkins, a cardiologist who developed the low-carbohydrate diet that bears his name, left $40 million to the Dr. Robert C. Atkins Foundation upon his death in April 2003 at 72. The foundation is administered by the National Philanthropic Trust, in Jenkintown, Pa. His wife, Veronica, who authorized the bequest from her husband's estate, is chairman of the foundation, which supports the study of the safety and efficacy of low-carbohydrate diets and research on health issues associated with obesity and diabetes. The foundation is expected to receive future bequests from Robert Atkins' estate. (A profile of the Atkins Foundation appeared in the May 27, 2004, issue of the Chronicle of Philanthropy.)
Lawrence J. Ellison—$40 million to the Ellison Medical Foundation. Ellison, 61, chief executive officer of the Oracle Corp., a computer-software company in Redwood City, Calif., gave $40 million to the Ellison Medical Foundation, in Bethesda, Md. The foundation, which Mr. Ellison created in 1997, supports biomedical research on aging and on research areas that might not be supported by other sources.
Jackson T. Stephens and Warren A. and Harriet C. Stephens—$30 million to the Episcopal Collegiate School Foundation. Jackson T. Stephens, 81, chairman of Stephens Inc., a brokerage firm in Little Rock, Ark., along with his son, Warren A. Stephens, president and chief executive officer of Stephens Inc., and Warren's wife, Harriet, gave stock valued at $30 million to the Episcopal Collegiate School Foundation, in Little Rock. The gift to the private school's endowment will support faculty recruitment, programs, and scholarships and financial aid. Harriet Stephens serves as president of the school's board of trustees.
David and Marlene Tepper—$27 million to the David Tepper Charitable Foundation. Tepper, 47, founder and president of Appaloosa Management, a hedge-fund investment firm in Chatham, N.J., and his wife, Marlene, gave $27 million to the David Tepper Charitable Foundation, which supports arts, education, and human services organizations.
Hansjoerg Wyss—$25 million to the Harvard Business School. Wyss, chairman and chief executive officer of Synthes Inc., a medical-device company based in Switzerland, gave $25 million to Harvard Business School, in Boston, for its doctoral programs. The school plans to use the money for fellowships and stipends for doctoral students, field research by students, course development, faculty training, and facilities renovation. Wyss received an M.B.A. from the school in 1965. His company, which also has operations in the United States, specializes in orthopedic instruments and implants.
Ida Belle Young—$22.2 million to Auburn University at Montgomery, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Young Meadows Presbyterian Church, and Fairview United Methodist Church. Young, who died last year, left $22.2 million to four institutions in her native Montgomery, Ala. Auburn University at Montgomery received $10 million to endow student scholarships and professorships. The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts received $10 million to acquire non-abstract American art. Young Meadows Presbyterian Church and Fairview United Methodist Church received $2 million and $200,000, respectively. Young, a businesswoman and cattle rancher, had served on the advisory board of the university and as a trustee of the museum.
Louise Wheelock Willson—$21 million to 12 organizations in Connecticut and Virginia. Willson, of Simsbury, Conn., who died in April 2004 at 74, left gifts totaling $18 million to 11 organizations in Connecticut, as well as $3 million to the Madeira School, in McLean, Va., a girls' preparatory school that she graduated from in 1948. The Nutmeg Ballet, in Torrington, Conn., received $5 million; the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, in Hartford, received $3 million; and the New Britain Museum of American Art received $2 million. The following Connecticut organizations received $1 million each: the Connecticut Opera Association, in Hartford; the Hartford Hospital; the Hartford Stage Company; the Hartford Symphony Orchestra; the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival; the Warner Theatre, in Torrington; the White Memorial Conservation Center, in Litchfield; and the Westminster School, in Simsbury, for its Centennial Theater Festival. With the exception of the gift to Westminster School, all the gifts were unrestricted. Willson's family helped create Pioneer Hi-Bred International, a seed-producing company that was bought by DuPont in 1999.
Arthur M. Blank—$18.9 million to the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. Blank, a co-founder and former chief executive officer of the Home Depot chain who is currently the owner of the Atlanta Falcons football team, gave the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, in Atlanta, $13.8 million in stock last year and $5.1 million in cash. The foundation supports programs that assist low-income families.
Helen Way Klingler—$18 million to Marquette University. Klingler, who died in 2004 at 101, left $18 million to Marquette University, in Milwaukee, to establish a competitive research fund for faculty members. The fund includes provisions for two one-year sabbaticals for selected faculty members that allow them to focus on their scholarship. Klingler also gave the university more than $15 million during her lifetime, and the university has renamed the college of arts and sciences after her. She was the daughter of Sylvester B. Way, a former chairman of the Wisconsin Electric Power Co. Although Klingler did not attend Marquette, she was a friend of Father John Raynor, a former president of the university, and converted to Catholicism at a chapel on its campus.
Ruth L. Kilton—$17 million to the Rhode Island Foundation. Kilton, of Warwick, R.I., who died in January 2004 at 96, left $17 million to the Rhode Island Foundation, in Providence. The new funds were added to the John B. and Ruth L. Kilton Fund, an endowment Ruth Kilton set up in 1997 to benefit children, the elderly, and animals. Her bequest includes 175 shares of Berkshire Hathaway stock, which sold in 2004 for as high as $94,000 each. Kilton met her husband while working at the U.S. Gutta Percha Paint Co., in Providence, where his father was one of the company's officers.
Valeria Harris Symington—$17 million to five organizations. Valeria (A.V.) Harris Symington, a farmer in Leesburg, Va., who died in August 2003 at 87, left a total of $17 million to: the Loudoun County Public Library system, to benefit the Rust Library, in Leesburg; the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, in Fairfax Station, for the upkeep of Temple Hall Farm Regional Park, in Leesburg; the Town of Leesburg, to benefit the Ida Lee Park Recreation Center; the Loudoun Country Day School, in Leesburg; and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in Washington, to benefit the Oatlands Plantation, in Leesburg. Symington moved from Baltimore to Loudoun County in 1940 with her husband, James. The couple purchased Temple Hall Farm, and Valeria Symington took over the farm's operations after her husband lost his sight.
Photographs of: Bill and Melinda Gates by Jeff Christensen/Reuters; Pierre Omidyar by Robbie McClaran/Corbis; Michael Bloomberg by Ace Pictures; Ted Turner by Mitchell Gerber/Corbis; Oprah Winfrey by George Burns/AP Photo/Harpo Productions; Robert C. Atkins by Atkins Center/Getty Images.