The 2005 Slate 60: Donations

Analysis of the year's biggest philanthropists.
Feb. 20 2006 8:19 AM

The 2005 Slate 60: Donations

The 60 largest American charitable contributions of the year.

Cordelia Scaife May

Cordelia Scaife May—$404 million to the Colcom Foundation, the Nature Conservancy of Hawaii, and National Tropical Botanical Garden. May, who died in January 2005 at 76, left most of her estate—property and cash worth approximately $400 million that she inherited from the Mellon banking fortune—to the Colcom Foundation in Pittsburgh. May started the foundation in 1996, naming it for one of her favorite books, Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons. The foundation supports groups that promote conservation and environmental protection, efforts to improve education, and stricter immigration limits in the United States. In past years the foundation usually made grants totaling about $1 million, but with its new infusion of cash, the foundation was able to make grants totaling more than $4.8 million in 2005, and its total assets have grown to more than $250 million. The foundation has already approved additional grants of about $2 million for future payment. May also bequeathed to the Nature Conservancy of Hawaii 34 acres of pasture and 35 acres of waterfront property, both near Maui, which together are worth an estimated $3 million. Her will did not stipulate how the land should be used, but the conservancy plans to donate the pasture land to the Kipahulu Valley extension of the Haleakala National Park, which sits next to the property, and to preserve the waterfront parcel, which contains a ship landing dating from the 19th century. May left an additional parcel of land, worth about $1 million, to the National Tropical Botanical Garden in the Lawai Valley of Kauai, Hawaii, where she was a trustee for 25 years.

William H. (Bill) III and Melinda F. Gates

William H. (Bill) III and Melinda F. Gates—$320 million to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Bill Gates, 50, co-founder and chairman of Microsoft, and his wife, Melinda, 41, added funds to the foundation they created in 2000, which supports education, global health, and libraries, as well as charities in the Pacific Northwest. (Disclosure: Melinda Gates is a member of the board of directors of the Washington Post Co., which owns Slate.) The money is the second of several expected installments paid on an approximately $3.35 billion pledge the couple made to the foundation in 2004, the year they received a stock dividend of that size from Microsoft.

Advertisement

Boone Pickens—$229.2 million to Oklahoma State University,  the American Red Cross, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Foundation, and the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. Pickens, 77, founder of Mesa Petroleum and BP Capital Management, in Dallas, donated $165 million to his alma mater, Oklahoma State University, for athletics facilities. He also gave $25.1 million to Oklahoma State to pay off a $20 million pledge made in 2003 and provide other support. Pickens, a fund-raiser for former President Ronald Reagan, donated $10 million to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Foundation, in Simi Valley, Calif., for its Air Force One Pavilion and endowment. His other large gifts included $8.1 million to the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, in Dallas, and $7 million to the American Red Cross, the majority of which supported relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Pickens also provided $11.5 million to more than 90 charitable organizations in Texas and elsewhere in the United States focusing on health, social services, advocacy, and other causes. He also made a $1.5 million pledge—of which $500,000 was paid—to the Media Research Center, in Alexandria, Va., and a $1 million pledge, of which $200,000 was paid, to the Visiting Nurse Association of Texas, in Dallas, for a Meals on Wheels program.

George Soros

George Soros—$205.9 million to Central European University. Soros, 75, chairman of Soros Fund Management, a hedge-fund management firm in New York, gave $205.9 million to Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, for its endowment and pledged another $24.2 million to the university's business school. Soros, who is Hungarian-American, helped found the university, which opened in 1991.

Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg—$144 million to arts, education, health-care, and social-services charities. Mr. Bloomberg, 64, the mayor of New York and founder of Bloomberg L.P., a financial-data and news-service business, donated $144 million to 850 nonprofit organizations that focus on the arts, education, health care, and social services. Although he refused to name any of the organizations to which he gave money, rumors flew in June when the Carnegie Corporation of New York announced that it had received $20 million from an anonymous donor who wanted the money distributed to New York City groups. Counting the $20 million in 2005, Carnegie has received $55 million from this same anonymous donor during the last four years. The rumor got press attention when an unnamed aide to Mr. Bloomberg and an anonymous Carnegie official told the New York Times that the gift was indeed from Mr. Bloomberg. However, both Carnegie and City Hall officials say that they will not confirm whether Mr. Bloomberg was indeed the donor.

Pierre and Pam Omidyar—$133.7 million to Tufts University, HopeLab, and the Omidyar Network. Pierre Omidyar, 38, founder and chairman of eBay, and Pam Omidyar, 38, founder and chairwoman of HopeLab, in Palo Alto, Calif., which develops technology to help chronically ill children, gave $103 million to Tufts University, in Medford, Mass., for microfinance investments. The donors are both graduates of Tufts. The university will use the money to make small loans to businesses in developing countries, and direct income from the loans toward endowment, scholarships, and other programs. The Omidyars also gave $21.7 million to the nonprofit arm of the Omidyar Network, in Redwood City, Calif. The couple founded the network in 2004 to take over the operations of the couple's foundation; one branch of the network gives money to nonprofit organizations, while the other is a for-profit unit that invests in businesses that promote social change. The nonprofit branch of the network supports organizations such as KaBOOM in Washington, Global Giving in Bethesda, Md., and other nonprofit groups. The Omidyars also gave $9 million to HopeLab and other nonprofit organizations.  

David and Cheryl Duffield—$95 million to Maddie's Fund. David Duffield, 65, founder of the PeopleSoft software company and his wife, Cheryl, gave $93 million to Maddie's Fund, an animal-welfare foundation in Alameda, Calif., that they started in 1999. All of the most recent gift will go to the foundation's endowment, which will now total $293 million and will be used for grants to groups that promote the well-being of dogs, cats, and other animals, as well as to support groups that spay and neuter pets, and to veterinary colleges that maintain animal-shelter programs. The couple gave an additional $2 million to arts organizations, education and community groups, and environmental charities in Northern California and Nevada.

Josephine F. Ford—$90.9 million to the College for Creative Studies, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Maine Coast Heritage Trust. Ford, an heir to the Ford Motor Company fortunte who died June 1, 2005, at 81, bequeathed $50 million to the College for Creative Studies in Detroit for its endowment, the earnings of which will be used for financial aid for students and to increase the number of full-time faculty members. A portion of the earnings will also go toward programs at the college. Ford, the only granddaughter of company founder Henry Ford, also left $20 million to the Detroit Institute of Arts to go toward an endowment, museum operations, and a new building. In addition to the cash gift, Ford left the museum a collection of artworks and antique furniture worth a total of $14.7 million, according to the lawyer handling her estate. The works include Pablo Picasso's Girl Reading,valued at $7 million, Amedeo Modigliani's Filette a la Blouse Blanche, worth $2.5 million, and Henri Matisse's Anemones and Peach Blossoms, valued at $2.3 million, as well as works by Edgar Degas and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Ford, whose family summered on the coast of Maine near Mount Desert and Acadia National Park, left $3.5 million to the Maine Coast Heritage Trust in Topsham. The gift is unrestricted, but officials at the trust said that they plan to use it for conservation and management of the trust's properties, the purchase of land, and its operating endowment. In addition to those bequests, Ford left smaller gifts totaling $2.6 million to those same groups, as well as to the Detroit Historical Society and other nonprofit organizations.

T. Denny Sanford—$70.6 million to Sioux Valley Hospital, and the Mayo Foundation. Sanford, 70, CEO of United National Corporation, First Premier Bank, and Premier Bankcard in Sioux Falls, S.D., donated $20 million to Sioux Valley Hospital in Sioux Falls for expansion projects at the University of South Dakota's medical school. The hospital, which is the primary teaching facility associated with the medical school, gave the university $4 million last year and will continue to give it $2 million a year for the next eight years. Sanford says he channeled the money for the university through the hospital because he was happy with the way Sioux Valley dealt with his previous gift. In 2005, Sanford gave Sioux Valley Hospital $14 million, the final payment on a $16 million pledge he made in 2004 to help the institution build the Sanford Children's Hospital, scheduled to open in 2009. Sanford also gave $15 million to the Mayo Foundation in Rochester, Minn. Most of the donation—$10 million—will pay for a new pediatric outpatient center at the Mayo Clinic. The remaining $5 million will establish an endowment to support joint research and education programs run by the clinic and Sanford Children's Hospital in Sioux Falls. Sanford also awarded $21.6 million to child-welfare, community, and health charities.

Robert Edward (Ted) Turner

Robert Edward (Ted) Turner—$67.6 million, plus $3 million in pledges, to the Better World Fund, the United Nations Foundation, the Nuclear Threat Initiative, the Turner Foundation, and the Peace Parks Foundation. Turner, 67, founder of CNN and TBS and chairman of Turner Enterprises, gave $53 million worth of Time Warner stock to the U.N. Foundation and the Better World Fund, both in Washington. (Turner established the Better World Fund to inform the public about the work of the United Nations.) He also gave $12.4 million in a combination of cash and Time Warner stock to the Turner Foundation in Atlanta, which he created in 1990 to support environmental and population projects. Turner pledged $4 million to the Nuclear Threat Initiative in Washington and paid $1 million of the pledge in 2005. The rest of the money will be paid out annually in $1 million increments over the next three years. Additionally, Turner donated $1 million worth of Time Warner stock to the Peace Parks Foundation in Stellenbosch, South Africa, and gave $200,000 worth of the stock to several educational institutions that he declined to name.

Peter B. Lewis—$59.9 million to Princeton University and the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation. Lewis, 72, chairman of the Progressive Corporation, an insurance company in Mayfield Village, Ohio, gave $21 million to Princeton University in New Jersey for creative and performing-arts programs. He also donated $6.5 million to the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation in New York, toward past pledges. Lewis gave the largest portion of the gift—$4 million—for upkeep of the building that houses the organization's offices in Washington, while $2 million is for the group's endowment and $550,000 is for a drug-policy project. Lewis gave an additional $32.4 million to numerous advocacy, arts, education, civic, health, human rights, and social-services causes. He also pledged $250,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland.

Ted and Vada Stanley—$54.4 million to the Stanley Medical Research Institute; Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; NARSAD, Mental Health Research Association; the Theodore and Vada Stanley Foundation, and the Treatment Advocacy Center. Stanley, 74, founder and chairman of BMI, a Norwalk, Conn., company that develops and markets collectible items, and his wife, Vada, 72, gave $28.4 million to the Stanley Medical Research Institute in Bethesda, Md., which they helped create in 1989. With assets worth $274 million, the institute focuses on researching treatments for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The Stanleys also donated $5 million to NASRAD, the Mental Health Research Association, in Great Neck, N.Y.; $5 million to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York for genetic research; and $4 million to the Theodore and Vada Stanley Foundation  in Norwalk, Conn. The foundation's assets total $4 million, and it supports mental-health and crisis-relief charities. The Stanleys started their foundation in 1985, but were not sure where they wanted to focus their philanthropy. The couple found a mission several years later when their son, Jonathan, became mentally ill while he was in college and was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The Stanleys also gave a total of $10.4 million to more than 70 nonprofit organizations in 2005, including AmeriCares, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, CARE, the Carter Center, the International Rescue Committee, Trickle Up, and other human-rights and relief groups.

John B. Ellis—$52 million to the Arizona Community Foundation. Ellis, who died in July at age 90, left most of his estate—$52 million—to the Arizona Community Foundation in Phoenix, to establish a supporting organization, the Ellis Center for Educational Excellence, which will advocate long-term improvements in Arizona's public schools. Before Ellis' death, foundation officials expressed eagerness to create a center to tackle Arizona's troubled public-education system and described how that might be done. Ellis, who usually gave the foundation $250,000 to $500,000 each year, liked the idea, but never told anyone at the foundation how much he intended to give. His wealth came from more than 100 shares of General Electric stock that he kept for decades after the sale of the Browning Gun Company in the 1940s to Utah Construction, which was eventually bought by GE in 1974.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey—$51.8 million to the Oprah Winfrey Foundation, Oprah's Angel Network, and the Oprah Winfrey Operating Foundation. Winfrey, 52, chairman of Harpo, a multimedia entertainment company, and host of The Oprah Winfrey Show, donated $35.9 million to the Oprah Winfrey Foundation in Chicago, which supports education as well as programs for women and children in the United States and abroad. She also gave $11 million to the Oprah Winfrey Operating Foundation in Chicago. Winfrey's operating foundation supports a leadership academy for girls in South Africa that is scheduled to open in January 2007. Winfrey gave an additional $3.5 million—profits from the sale of the 20th-anniversary DVD collection of her television show—to Oprah's Angel Network, a nonprofit organization Winfrey established in 1998 to encourage her fans and other celebrities to donate to charity. Winfrey subsidizes the organization's administration costs so she can assure donors that all their money goes to charitable causes selected by her foundation. Winfrey donated an additional $1.3 million in 2005 to other nonprofit groups.

Helen Snell Cheel—$49.3 million to Clarkson University, Canton-Potsdam Hospital, and the Emma Willard School. Cheel, who died in March 2005 at 100, left $27 million to Clarkson University, in Potsdam, N.Y. A portion of the bequest—$16 million—will go toward the university's endowment, and the remaining $11 million will pay off previous pledges Cheel made to a student center, a hockey arena, and an academic building. Members of Cheel's family attended Clarkson, and although she was not an alumna, she was a diehard hockey fan, attending many of university's home games. University officials said she made it a point to tell Clarkson's president when she thought the hockey team was underperforming. She also bequeathed $16.5 million to the Emma Willard School, a private girls school in Troy, N.Y., where Ms. Cheel was a student from 1920 to 1923. Most of the money is unrestricted and will be used for the school's endowment, but Cheel stipulated that some of it be used for technology—she paid to wire the campus for Internet use in 1995—and arts programs. Cheel also left $5.7 million to Canton-Potsdam Hospital in New York, where her mother was a board member in the 1920s. The bequest is unrestricted and will be used for the hospital's endowment.

Paul G. Allen—$49 million to the Allen Institute for Brain Science the Smithsonian Institution, the Paul G. Allen Foundation, the Experience Music Project, and the Science Fiction Museum. Allen, 53, founder and chairman of Vulcan, an investment company in Seattle, and co-founder of Microsoft, gave $16.5 million to the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle. He also donated SpaceShipOne, the first privately built spacecraft to enter suborbital space, to the Smithsonian Institution for its National Air and Space Museum in Washington. Allen spent approximately $25 million to develop the spacecraft. (Because of the way the spacecraft was developed, the donation is not technically counted as a charitable contribution by the IRS, but because it has been turned over to the museum, the Chronicle of Philanthropy counted this donation toward Allen's philanthropy.) Allen gave $6.5 million to the Experience Music Project and the Science Fiction Museum in Seattle, and $1 million to the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation in Seattle. The money to the family foundation was used to provide a $500,000 grant to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Katrina relief, and other grants totaling $500,000 to Gulf Coast charities that will help rebuild hurricane-damaged regions.

Lorry I. Lokey—$46.2 million to Santa Clara University, Stanford University, Mills College, the San Francisco Jewish Community Endowment Fund, and the University of Oregon. Lokey, 79, founder and chairman of Business Wire, a San Francisco company that distributes press releases, gave $10 million to Santa Clara University in California as a final payment on a $20 million pledge he made in 2001 to finance a new university library. Part of the gift—$10,000—is earmarked to help students who are transferring to Santa Clara because their own institutions were damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Lokey made similar $10,000 gifts to aid Katrina-affected students at Stanford University (his alma mater) as well as to Mills College, in Oakland, Calif., and to the University of Oregon. His gave $10 million to Stanford as a final payment on a $20 million pledge made in 2000 for a research building housing the chemistry and biology departments. Lokey gave a total of $8 million to Mills College, the final installment on a $10 million pledge made in 2004 to establish a graduate business school to prepare women for entrepreneurial careers. He gave $7.8 million worth of Business Wire stock to the San Francisco Jewish Community Endowment Fund. The stock will be liquidated in March 2006, when Lokey completes his sale of Business Wire to Berkshire Hathaway. The University of Oregon in Eugene received a total of $6.6 million from Lokey for a new music department building and for a new journalism department building for the Portland campus. He also made gifts totaling $3.7 million to nonprofit organizations in California, Oregon, Washington state, and in Israel. Those donations were given to creative and performing-arts groups, education and human-services charities, Jewish groups, and elementary and secondary schools.

1_123125_123100_2136383_jacobs

Barbara Barrow Jacobs—$40.6 million to Indiana University. Jacobs, widow of David H. Jacobs, an owner of the Cleveland Indians baseball team and developer of shopping centers, died Nov. 29, 2005, at 79. She left $40.6 million to Indiana University, in Bloomington, for its school of music, which will be named for Jacobs' late husband. Nearly half the gift—$20 million—will endow fellowships for graduate students, $10 million will endow undergraduate scholarships, and the rest will endow faculty positions and pay for programs at the institution. The couple both graduated from the university in 1948, but that's not what prompted Jacobs to include the gift in her will. She was inspired by a request from her son, David Jacobs Jr., who attended the music school in the 1970s.

Eli and Edythe L. Broad—$40 million to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Broad Medical Research Program, and the University of California at Los Angeles. In addition to pledges totaling $260 million, the couple gave $20 million to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and made a $10 million payment on the 2003 pledge to MIT for the Broad Institute. They made additional cash gifts of $5 million to the Broad Medical Research Program, in Los Angeles, which will be used for research into inflammatory bowel disease, and $5 million to the University of California at Los Angeles for the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Center.

Donald and Barbara Jonas—$39.4 million to the Jewish Communal Fund. Donald Jonas, who helped found now-defunct housewares chain Lechter's and Barbara Jonas, a retired social worker who helped found the Centers for the Study of Children at Risk at New York University and at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, gave 14 works of postwar and contemporary art to the Jewish Communal Fund, in New York, and told the fund to sell the works so the proceeds could be channeled to charities. The sale netted $39.4 million, and the proceeds were put into the couple's donor-advised fund at the Jewish Communal Fund. Donald Jonas, 76, started planning the donation, which represented half the couple's art collection and included works by Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, and Mark Rothko, last year, when he and his wife decided it was time to concentrate their energy on philanthropy. While the Jonases have not yet decided which charities will receive money, Barbara Jonas says they are involving their children in their decisions, and working with professional philanthropy advisers to help the family decide where to focus its giving. According to Ms. Jonas, the couple is currently conducting research on nursing programs, mental-health charities, and nonprofit organizations that help disadvantaged youth as possible grantees.

Bill Greehey—$36 million to St. Mary's University and the Greehey Family Foundation. Greehey, 69, chairman of Valero Energy Corporation, an oil-refining company in San Antonio, Texas, donated $25 million to St. Mary's University in San Antonio to endow the School of Business and Administration. Earnings from the money will be used for student scholarships, technology improvements, and the expansion of the university's business school faculty. Greehey graduated from the university in 1960 and serves on its board of trustees. He also gave $9 million to the Greehey Family Foundation in San Antonio, which he started in 2003. With assets of about $29 million, the foundation supports cancer, education, and religious charities. Mr. Greehey also donated a total of $2 million to several nonprofit organizations focused on children's health care, shelters, and after-school programs.

Madeleine T. Schneider—$32.5 million to the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation, Culver Academies, Blanchard Valley Health Foundation. Schneider, who died on Jan. 18, 2005, at 90, left $25 million to the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation in Ohio, near where she grew up. The money, which she had inherited, will be used for several human-services and education grants, in addition to supporting other causes. A physicist who worked as a technical aide to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology during World War II and as a courier for the Manhattan Project, Schneider bequeathed an additional $5 million to the Culver Academies, the Indiana high school her husband attended, and $2.5 million to the Blanchard Valley Health Foundation, in Findlay, Ohio.

Leonie Faroll—$31.1 million to Wellesley College. Faroll, a former marketing analyst at the investment firm Scudder, Stevens & Clark, in New York who died Sept. 18, 2003, at 75, bequeathed the bulk of her estate—nearly $29 million—to Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Faroll stipulated in her will that 60 percent of the bequest should pay for renovations to a science center and 30 percent should go toward renovating the college's power plant. At least half of the remaining 10 percent is to be used in part to build a facility to house the college's skilled-trades staff members; the rest can be used as the college wishes. The remainder of Faroll's estate, more than $2.1 million, went to human-services, education, medical, and religious charities.

Richard T. and Joyce Farmer—$30 million to the Farmer Family Foundation. Richard Farmer, 71, chairman of the Cintas Corporation, a uniform-supply company in Cincinnati, and his wife, Joyce, 70, put $30 million into the Farmer Family Foundation in Cincinnati in 2005. All the money will be given to the Richard T. Farmer School of Business at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, with $25 million to pay for a new building for the school. The remaining $5 million is earmarked for the school's endowment; the Farmers asked that some of the interest earnings be used to pay to expand the number of faculty members at the school. The business school received $2 million from the foundation in 2005, and will continue to receive $2 million a year from the foundation for the next 14 years. The Farmers, who both graduated from the university in the 1950s, helped to establish the business school with a $10 million gift in 1991. 

K. Raymond Clark—$29.3 million to Coe College. Clark, a Chicago estate lawyer who invested in real estate, died at age 96 on July 20, 2005. He left his entire estate of $29.3 million to Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He earmarked $10 million to support a racquetball center, an outdoor athletic field, and an alumni house, all three of which Mr. Clark had financed with previous gifts in the 1980s and 1990s. The remaining $19.3 million is an unrestricted gift, which college officials have decided to put into Coe's endowment. A 1930 graduate and a trustee of the college, Mr. Clark created a scholarship program in 1996 that annually gives 10 Coe students one tuition-free year.

Oscar Boonshoft and family—$28.5 million to the Wright State University School of Medicine. Mr. Boonshoft, 88, a retired engineer who worked at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and who accumulated his wealth through investments, and his family donated $28.5 million to Wright State University's School of Medicine in Dayton, Ohio. The gift was unrestricted. Officials at the medical school plan to use a large portion of the money—$12.5-million—to pay for new research programs, while $5 million will endow student scholarships, another $5 million will support geriatric medicine and global health programs, and $2.5 million will pay for building renovations. University officials are still deciding where to direct the remaining $3.5 million.  

Charles Simonyi—$28 million to the Charles Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences. Simonyi, 57, a former executive at Microsoft and founder and CEO of Intentional Software Corporation in Bellevue, Wash., gave his foundation $25 million in cash as well as stock worth $3 million in 2005. The foundation supports the arts, education, and the sciences. In July 2005, the foundation turned Mr. Simonyi's cash gift into a $25 million grant to the Institute for Advanced Study, in Princeton, N.J., for its endowment. Simonyi is a trustee and president of the institute's corporation. The endowment will be named for Simonyi's father, Karoly, a professor of electrical engineering in Budapest, Hungary, where the younger Mr. Simonyi lived until he came to the United States at age 16.

Dorrance H. Hamilton—$25 million to Thomas Jefferson University. Hamilton, 76, an heir to the Campbell Soup Co. fortune, pledged $25 million to Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, for a new building to house academic programs in medicine, nursing, and physical and occupational therapy. Part of the pledge, $5 million, was paid in 2005, and the rest will be paid at $5 million a year for the next four years. A trustee of the university, Ms. Hamilton is the granddaughter of John T. Dorrance, a chemist who in 1897 invented condensed soup for the Campbell Soup Company.

Arthur E. Benning—$22.5 million to the University of Utah School of Medicine. Benning, former president and chairman of the Amalgamated Sugar Company, in Ogden, Utah, died in 1990, at 78. He left $22.5 million to the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City. His wife died in 2004, and his estate was not settled until 2005. His will stipulated that his entire donation should go to an endowment at the medical school. Money from the endowment will support 12 professorships and their research. Mr. Benning had no connection to the university or to the medical school, and had never even visited the campus, but around the time he was planning his estate gifts, he recalled a story a close friend had once told him. The friend's 3-year-old daughter, who suffered from a rare and sometimes fatal disorder called dermatomyositis, was rushed to the medical school's hospital one night and was saved by doctors there. Struck by the memory of the story, Mr. Benning decided not only to include a gift to the medical school in his will, but also to leave the school his entire estate.

Ira. A. and Mary Lou Fulton—$22 million to Brigham Young University and the Huntsman Cancer Foundation. The couple, who also pledged $100 million to the Arizona State University Foundation, donated $20 million in 2005 to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. The money will create endowments to support three colleges: family, home, and social sciences; health and human performance; and humanities. It will also pay for upgrades to the university's supercomputers, support its art museum, match student and faculty donations, and provide other assistance. The couple also gave $2 million last year toward a $10 million pledge they made to the Huntsman Cancer Foundation in Salt Lake City in 2004.

Lois Bates Acheson—$21 million to the Oregon State University Foundation. Acheson, who died in 2004 at age 89, bequeathed $21 million to the Oregon State University Foundation in Corvallis for the College of Veterinary Medicine. She owned Black Ball Transport, a ferry company in Port Angeles, Wash. The veterinary college did not exist when Ms. Acheson was a student at the university—she graduated with a business degree in 1937. But she loved animals and had endowed a scholarship for students of the college in 1980. When she planned her estate, she earmarked $1.5 million of the gift to endow a dean's position at the veterinary college, and the university plans to use the rest of the bequest to endow the veterinary college.

Geoffrey Beene—$20 million to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the Animal Medical Center. Fashion designer Beene, who died in 2004 at 77, left $10 million to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in New York. While Beene did not specify in his will how he wanted the group to use the money, society officials said they intend to use it for endowment. He left another $10 million to the Animal Medical Center in New York, where veterinarians had treated his two pet dogs. Officials at the medical center said they plan to put the money into the institution's endowment and use a portion of the earnings to purchase new diagnostic equipment and improve facilities.

David Rockefeller—$20 million to cultural institutions, international-relations organizations, environmental groups, plus payments on pledges to the Museum of Modern Art and the Rhode Island School of Design. Rockefeller gave a total of $14 million to several cultural institutions, international-relations organizations, and environmental groups. In addition, he awarded $1 million to the Rhode Island School of Design, in Providence, to restore the museum's galleries that house Asian art. He also made payments of $2.5 million each to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, of which he is chairman emeritus, and to the Rhode Island School of Design, toward pledges.

  Slate Plus
Working
Dec. 18 2014 4:49 PM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 17 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked a middle school principal about his workday.