The 2004 Slate 60: Pledges

Analysis of the year's biggest philanthropists.
Feb. 28 2005 5:26 AM

The 2004 Slate 60: Pledges

The 60 largest American charitable contributions of the year.

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Donald L. and Susan Sturm—a $20 million pledge to the University of Denver, College of Law. Donald Sturm, and his wife, Susan, made an unrestricted $20 million pledge to the University of Denver's College of Law. The law school will be named in honor of Donald Sturm, a 1958 graduate who paid for his studies through the G.I. Bill, grants, and various jobs. The Sturms are co-owners of American National Bank, in Denver, and Donald Sturm has been a university trustee since 1992.

Charles and Dee Wyly and Sam and Cheryl Wyly—a $20 million pledge to the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts Foundation. Two couples—Charles Wyly, 70, and his wife, Dee, and Sam Wyly, 69, and his wife, Cheryl—pledged $20 million to the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts Foundation. Charles and Sam Wyly are brothers, and are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of Michaels Stores, a chain that sells arts and crafts supplies. The gifts will help construct a theater at the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts, which is scheduled to open in 2009.

Edwin E. and Rachel Meader—a $18 million pledge to the University of Michigan Health System, Depression Center, and University of Michigan, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. Edwin Meader, 95, a retired professor of geography at Western Michigan University, and his wife, Rachel, 88, pledged $18 million to the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor. The University of Michigan Health System will receive $10 million to construct a facility for its Depression Center that will house clinical, research, public policy, and other programs on depression and bipolar illnesses. The couple also pledged $8 million to the university's Kelsey Museum of Archaeology to build a new exhibit wing. Edwin Meader is a 1933 graduate of the university. Rachel Meader's grandfather, William E. Upjohn, who attended the university's medical school in the late 19th century, co-founded the Upjohn Co., a pharmaceutical manufacturer.

Dennis and Gisela Alter—a $16.5 million pledge to Temple University, Fox School of Business and Management, and Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education. Dennis Alter, 62, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the Advanta Corp., in Spring House, Pa., and his wife, Gisela, 47, pledged $15 million for a new building that will house Temple University's Fox School of Business and Management, in Philadelphia. The building is being designed by the architect Michael Graves, and construction is expected to begin in early 2006. The Alters also pledged $1.5 million to Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education, in Philadelphia, for its capital campaign for a new facility. Dennis Alter received his bachelor's degree in education from Temple in 1966.

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