The 60 largest American charitable contributions of the year.

Analysis of the year's biggest philanthropists.
Feb. 15 2007 11:26 PM

The 2006 Slate 60: Donations

The 60 largest American charitable contributions of the year.

Introduction to the Slate 60
Philanthropists who made donations.
Philanthropists who made pledges.
The Slate 60 database.

   

Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett

Warren E. Buffett—$1.9 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Susan A. Buffett Foundation, and the NoVo Foundation. Buffett, 76, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, an insurance and investment company in Omaha, Neb., paid $1.6 billion of his record $36.1 billion pledge to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He said he would continue to pay the foundation 5 percent of the remaining balance of the earmarked shares every year until his death. In addition, Buffett paid $151.3 million of his $3 billion pledge to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, in Omaha. The foundation supports education, medical research, and efforts to curb population growth. It was named for Buffett's first wife, Susan, who was president of the foundation until her death in 2004. Buffett also paid $52.9 million each to the foundations run by his three children: the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, in Decatur, Ill.; the Susan A. Buffett Foundation, in Omaha; and the NoVo Foundation, Peter Buffett's foundation in New York. As he did with his pledge to the Gates Foundation, Buffett said he would pay the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation and the three foundations run by his children 5 percent of the remaining balance of the shares every year until his death.

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Herbert M. and Marion O. Sandler—$1.3 billion to the Sandler Family Supporting Foundation. The Sandlers, both in their 70s, are former co-chief executive officers of Golden West Financial Corporation, an Oakland, Calif., savings and loan company that merged with Wachovia last October. They gave 17,422,751 shares of Golden West Financial Corporation stock worth $1.3 billion to their Sandler Family Supporting Foundation in San Francisco, of which Marion Sandler serves as president. The Sandlers declined to disclose how the money will be used, but in the past the couple has supported asthma and malaria research and research to develop a treatment for Chagas' disease, an insect-born illness found in South America. The couple has also donated money to human rights groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch.

Bernard A. and Barbro Osher—$723.2 million to theBernard Osher Foundation. Bernard Osher, 79 and a founding director of Golden West Financial Corporation, an Oakland, Calif., savings and loan company that merged with Wachovia last October; and Barbro Osher, the consul general of Sweden in San Francisco, donated 10 million shares of Golden West Financial Corporation stock worth $723.2 million to the Bernard Osher Foundation in San Francisco. The couple would not say exactly how much of their total donation would support each program, but they have earmarked the money for college scholarships, performing-arts programs, and several higher-education projects. One of these, the Osher Re-Entry Scholarship Program, provides money to 40 colleges and universities for scholarships to people between the ages of 25 and 50 who were formerly traditional-age college students whose studies were interrupted. The money will also support three medical-education centers focused on integrating conventional and alternative approaches to medicine. The couple established the first center at the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine in 1998, the second center at Harvard Medical School in 2001, and the third center at the Karolinska Institute, a medical university in Stockholm, in 2005.

Jim Joseph—$500 million to the Jim Joseph Foundation. Joseph, the founder of Interland Corporation, a real-estate company in San Francisco and Davis, Calif., who died in 2003 at 68, left the bulk of his estate—at least $500 million in cash, stock, and real estate—to the foundation he started in San Francisco in 1987, which focuses on improving education of Jewish traditions and history among young Jewish people. The value of the real-estate portion of the bequest has not yet been determined. With this bequest, the foundation became one of the country's largest to focus on Jewish causes. Joseph did not specify exactly how the donation should be used. Joseph, whose Hebrew name was Shimon ben Yosef Yitzhak, left his native Austria with his family in 1938, fleeing the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler. In creating his foundation, he sought to provide formal and informal educational opportunities for young Jewish people and adults in the United States.

Hector Guy and Doris Di Stefano—$264 million to the American Humane Association, Direct Relief International, Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust, Greenpeace International Inc., Salvation Army, Santa Barbara Hospice Foundation, Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care of Santa Barbara, and World Wildlife Fund. Hector Guy Di Stefano, who died last year at 90, and his wife, who died in 2005 at age 90, left their entire estate, worth approximately $264 million, to be divided evenly among eight charities, any way they wished. Hector Guy Di Stefano was a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II and retired from the Federal Aviation Administration. He also owned a jewelry store in California. Doris Di Stefano inherited stock in the UPS company. The estate gift is being challenged by one of the beneficiaries, the Salvation Army, because it says that Greenpeace International Inc. is defunct and therefore not entitled to its share. The Greenpeace Fund, which was set up to take over the activities of Greenpeace International, says that it is entitled to the money. Both groups stand to receive $33 million apiece, pending a resolution of the court dispute. The other recipients have already received about $33 million each and would get more if the Salvation Army wins its battle. Most of the money in the estate comes from UPS stock that Doris Di Stefano inherited from her father, a top executive of the company in its earliest days. Hector Guy Di Stefano flew B-24 Liberator planes out of North Africa during World War II, said Alan Miller, his accountant since 1990. He gave away very little money during his lifetime, and the couple's approach to spending was conservative, Miller said. In the mid-1990s, shortly after the couple completed their estate plans, Doris Di Stefano told Miller that they didn't want their bequests to be made public until their deaths. "Doris told me that if their neighbors ever knew how much money they had, she'd just die," Miller said. She made one other choice clear to her accountant: Her father told her never to sell the UPS stock, and she never did. "He just felt it was going to be a good asset to hold," Miller said. "He was right."

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Mary Joan Palevsky—$212.8 million to the California Community Foundation, the University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Mount St. Mary's College, the National Parkinson Foundation, and the United Negro College Fund. Palevsky, who died at 80 in March and whose wealth grew from investments she made after receiving a $40 million divorce settlement in 1968 from her husband, Max Palevsky, the founder of Scientific Data Systems, an early computer company that was sold to Xerox in 1969, bequeathed more than $200 million—the bulk of her estate—to the California Community Foundation in Los Angeles to be used however the foundation wishes. Foundation officials have decided to use the gift to create an endowment—to be named for Palevsky—that will support arts and culture groups, civic-participation projects, civil-liberties groups, public education, and programs and organizations that advocate for elderly people, women, children, and needy families. A private, intellectual woman, Palevsky was much more comfortable among her many books than she was with large crowds of people. She rarely attended charity events but was well known within the Los Angeles nonprofit world as a supporter of the arts and groups that served poor people or others who had trouble getting aid from government or business. She was also known for supporting women's causes and female Democratic candidates running for public office. "She was an extraordinarily progressive, feminist woman," says Antonia Hernández, the president of the foundation, who says Palevsky's final gift came as a surprise. According to Palevsky's accountant, the donor set up her will 15 years ago but never contacted the foundation to tell officials there that she was leaving the organization such a windfall. Previously, Palevsky had made only a more modest gift, of $2,200 in 1997, after reading a newspaper article about the foundation's efforts to ease the textbook shortage within Los Angeles public schools. The community foundation's assets have now skyrocketed to more than $1 billion, up from more than $800 million, and it now plans to grant $20 million a year, double what it could give previously. Additionally, Palevsky left $6.1 million to the University of California at Los Angeles for professorships of $1 million each to the history, French, and classics departments, and for fellowships and scholarships in the College of Letters and Science. The money will also support a campus child-care center, an honors program, a humanities center, and a research library. Palevsky graduated from the university in 1947. She also left $1.1 million to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for its ancient-art division, its the department of prints and drawing, an intern program she had previously established, the museum's library, endowment, and its Islamic-art division (to which she had given 650 objects from her own collection in 1973). She also bequeathed $1 million each to Mount St. Mary's College in Los Angeles, the National Parkinson Foundation in Miami, the United Negro College Fund in Fairfax, Va. and $2.6 million to 38 additional nonprofit organizations.

T. Boone Pickens—$171.5 million tothe T. Boone Pickens Foundation. Pickens, 78, founder of Mesa Petroleum and BP Capital Management in Dallas, gave $160 million to establish the T. Boone Pickens Foundation in Dallas. He has said he plans to give most of his charitable donations through the foundation from now on. The foundation's giving will be distributed to groups throughout the country and focus primarily on health and medical research, treatment, and services, as well as conservation and wildlife management, corporate health and fitness, education and athletics, and assistance for troubled children. Pickens, who is chairman of the new foundation, has said he hopes to give away 80 percent of his fortune, estimated at $2.7 billion, while he is still alive. He has not yet decided whether to endow the foundation or simply donate money to it every year. He has said, however, that the foundation will eventually give away all of its money to charity at some point after his death. Pickens also gave more than $11.5 million to 82 nonprofit organizations, including the American Civil Rights Coalition in Sacramento, the Communities Foundation of Texas in Dallas, the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts, the Media Research Center in Alexandria, Va., and the Oklahoma State University Foundation in Stillwater, Okla. Pickens caused controversy in 2005 when he donated $165 million to Oklahoma State. The gift was given to build a $300 million athletics compound and finish construction of a football stadium, which  Pickens helped support with a $20 million pledge in 2003. But some university faculty members accused Pickens of wielding too much influence over which athletics coaches the university hired, and Stillwater residents accused him of pushing the university to speed up construction of the compound, which will displace hundreds of homeowners.

Michael R. Bloomberg
Michael R. Bloomberg

Michael R. Bloomberg—$165 million to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Centers for Disease Control Foundation, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School for Public Health, World Lung Foundation, World Health Organization.  Bloomberg, 65, the mayor of New York and founder of Bloomberg LP, a financial-data and news-service business in New York, donated $165 million to 1,000 organizations, five of which are working to fight tobacco use worldwide. The remaining 995 groups—which Bloomberg declined to name—support arts, education, health care, and social services. Bloomberg would not disclose how much money he gave to each of the five organizations—the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, in Washington; the Centers for Disease Control Foundation, in Atlanta; the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School for Public Health, in Baltimore; the World Lung Foundation, in New York; and the World Health Organization, in Geneva—but the undisclosed payments were part of $125 million pledge he announced last year. The money will be used to provide the first two years of support for a project, coordinated by the five groups, to monitor the progress of countries that are developing programs to help people stop smoking, and that are supporting government efforts to pass and enforce laws against smoking. Although Bloomberg would not name many of the groups to which he gave, it has been rumored that he was the anonymous donor of a $30 million donation to the Carnegie Corporation of New York in June. Counting the $30 million in 2006, Carnegie has received a total of $85 million from this same anonymous donor over the last five years. Another supposedly anonymous donor, said to be Bloomberg in reports in both the Baltimore Sun and the New York Times, gave $100 million to the Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore. The donor stipulated that the money be used for stem-cell research, for the renovation of a university building, for programs in the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and to help pay for a new children's facility at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Officials from the university and the Carnegie Corporation say they will not confirm whether Bloomberg is the donor.

Lorry I. Lokey—$163 million to the Lorry I. Lokey Supporting Foundation and the Stanford University Donor Advised Fund. Lokey, 80, founder of Business Wire, a San Francisco company that distributes news releases and which  Lokey sold to Berkshire Hathaway last March, gave $100 million to the Lorry I. Lokey Supporting Foundation in San Francisco. The money will be used to support arts and culture, education, and Jewish groups. Last year, the foundation awarded 28 grants totaling almost $33 million, including a $6 million grant to Mills College Graduate School of Business in Oakland, Calif.; a $200,000 grant to Jewish Family & Children's Services of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties; and $125,000 in grants to the Eugene Symphony in Oregon. Lokey also gave $50 million to the Stanford University Donor Advised Fund in California. Half the money will go to the American Technion Society in New York for a life-sciences and engineering program at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, in Haifa, Israel. The other half of the money will go toward Stanford's new stem-cell research laboratory, to be named for Lokey. Lokey said that by the time the money is paid out to the two institutions—in three years—each will end up receiving closer to $33 million apiece because of accrued interest. He also made gifts totaling $13 million to arts and culture groups, education and human-service charities, and elementary and secondary schools.

Arthur Zankel—$141 million to Skidmore College, Carnegie Hall, the Zankel Fund, the Teachers College at Columbia University, the UJA-Federation of New York, Nature Conservancy, and the Society of Illustrators. Zankel, who committed suicide in 2005, was the founder of High Rise Capital Management, an investment management firm in New York. He left approximately $42 million to Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. He did not specify in his will how the college should use the money, so after consulting the Zankel family, the university announced that $15 million will be used to build a music center to be named for Zankel, while approximately $13 million will go toward the endowment. Of the remaining funds, $10 million will be used for scholarships for needy students, and $3.5 million will establish a program in arts management. Zankel served on the school's board of trustees for 10 years, and two of his four sons graduated from the college. Martin I. Zankel said he doesn't know how philanthropy came to be such an important part of his older brother's life, but it started during their childhood in New York. "He was always trying to help the underdog, and he felt he was very fortunate to be a brainy guy," said Martin Zankel. "He knew how to make money, and he wanted to share it." According to his brother, Arthur Zankel's generosity included putting the man who shined his shoes through college. Zankel also left $24 million to Carnegie Hall in New York, where he was a trustee. The money will go toward programming and operating costs for Judy and Arthur Zankel Hall, a performance space Zankel and his wife helped renovate with a $10 million gift in 1999. He left directions in his will for $20 million to establish a charitable trust and $10 million to set up a foundation from which his family members will make yearly donations to charities of their choice. He also bequeathed $15 million to the Zankel Fund, which he and his wife established in 1969. The fund supports arts and business groups, higher education, hospitals, social-service groups, and Jewish charities, synagogues, and federations. Zankel left $10 million to the Teachers College at Columbia University in New York, where he was vice chairman of the college's board of trustees. The college plans to use the money for 50 one-year scholarships of $10,000 each for needy graduate students. He left nearly $10 million to the UJA-Federation of New York, which will go into  Zankel's donor-advised fund. One-third of the earnings will establish a depression-treatment center at the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services in New York, and one-third will support Birthright Israel, which gives free 10-day trips to Israel to young Jewish American adults who have never been to that country. The remaining one-third of the earnings will go toward charitable causes that the federation supports. Zankel also left $5 million to the Nature Conservancy in Arlington, Va., for the group's projects in New Hampshire and another $5 million to the Society of Illustrators in New York. His wife, Judy, is an illustrator, and the couple had been involved with the society for many years.

Eli and Edythe L. Broad—$137.6 million to the Broad Foundations. Broad, 73, founding chairman of KB Home Corporation and of SunAmerica, a financial-services company in Los Angeles, and his wife Edythe, 70, gave $137.6 million to the Broad Foundations in Los Angeles, which support local civic programs, efforts to improve elementary and secondary public education, medical and scientific research, and contemporary-art museums. In 2006 the foundation made a $25 million grant to the Broad Institute for Integrative Biology and Stem Cell Research at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, a $10.5 million grant to Green Dot Public Schools to establish 21 small high schools in Los Angeles, an $8.9 million grant to the Broad Fellows Program in Brain Circuitry at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, and a $6 million grant to the Los Angeles Opera to help sponsor the company's production of Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen.

Joseph Neubauer—$114.6 million to the Neubauer Family Foundation and the Fund for Eakins' Masterpiece. Nubauer, 65, CEO of Aramark—a Philadelphia company that runs concession stands, provides food for dormitories and nursing homes, and supplies worker uniforms—gave $74.4 million in Aramark stock to the Neubauer Family Foundation in December. He declined to give further details about the gift, which comprised 2.2 million shares. Under Neubauer's leadership, Aramark has twice made the transition from a public to a private company. It went private in 1984 and returned to the New York Stock Exchange in 2001. Last year  Neubauer and other investors began buying back millions of shares. He transferred a portion of those shares, valued at $33.80 apiece, to nonprofit groups. According to company financial documents, Neubauer also donated 1.1 million Aramark shares, worth $37.2 million, to two charities that were not named. In recent years, the Neubauer foundation has granted money to numerous Philadelphia arts groups, including $10 million to help the Barnes Foundation finance a controversial move from outer Philadelphia to a downtown location. According to its founder's wishes, the Barnes collection of paintings and sculptures was to remain at its original home, a mansion, in perpetuity. Neubauer has publicly supported the move. In addition,  Neubauer paid $3 million to the Fund for Eakins' Masterpiece, which prevented a Philadelphia icon—The Gross Clinic, a Thomas Eakins painting valued at $68 million—from being bought jointly by the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark.

John Arrillaga—$100 million to Stanford University. Arillaga, 69 and co-founder of Peery/Arrillaga, a commercial real-estate company in Santa Clara, Calif., gave $100 million to Stanford University for academic programs. A 1960 Stanford graduate, Arrillaga has given to the university previously and has been described as "the patron saint of Stanford athletics." Several university buildings bear his name, including the alumni center and sports center. The university declined to provide a figure for his total giving through the years.

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Henry M. and Wendy J. Paulson

Henry M. and Wendy J. Paulson—$100 million to the Bobolink Foundation and the Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund. Paulson, 60, the treasury secretary and a former chairman of Goldman Sachs in New York, and his wife, Wendy, 59, gave 510,000 shares of Goldman Sachs stock, worth approximately $80 million, to the Bobolink Foundation in Chicago, which the couple established in 1985. The money will be used for grants to education, environmental, and conservation groups. The Paulsons also gave 127,500 shares of Goldman Sachs stock worth about $20 million to the Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund, a donor-advised fund. The Paulsons declined to disclose how the money would be used.

Tim and Bernadette Marquez—$85 million to the Denver Foundation and the Marquez Foundation. Marquez, 48, chief executive of Venoco, a Denver oil company, and Bernadette Marquez, also 48, a nurse, gave 2.5 million shares of Venoco stock, worth $42.5 million, to the Denver Foundation and that same amount of Venoco stock to establish the Marquez Foundation. The gift to the Denver Foundation established the Denver Scholarship Foundation, which will help graduates of Denver's public schools attend college. The Marquez Foundation will focus its support on education and health care. Tim Marquez attended Denver public schools, and the couple hopes to help alleviate barriers for public-school graduates who want to go to college. The third of six children, Tim Marquez is the son of two public-school teachers. He worked his way through college at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden by taking jobs at several local factories.

Gary C. and Frances Comer—$67 million to the University of Chicago and the Comer Science and Education Foundation. Gary Comer, who died in October at age 78, and his wife, Frances, gave $42 million to the University of Chicago to establish a pediatric-care center. Gary Comer founded Lands' End, a retail clothing company in Dodgeville, Wis., and sold the company to Sears, Roebuck and Company in 2002 for $1.9 billion. The money will also be used for programs in pediatric medicine and to help support efforts to recruit physicians and scientists. The Comers donated the money nine months before Gary Comer died. The couple gave the university $21 million in 2001 to build Comer Children's Hospital. The new pediatric-care facility, which the university plans to name for the Comers, is being built next to the children's hospital. In addition, the Comers donated $25 million to the Comer Science and Education Foundation in Chicago. Gary Comer started the foundation in 1998 to support efforts to improve science education and to help support Paul Revere Elementary School and its surrounding neighborhood. He attended the school, on Chicago's South Side, as a child. Before he died, Gary Comer stipulated that the $25 million gift to the foundation should support two causes he cared most about: the Revere school and finding ways to fight global warming. He became interested in global warming in the summer of 2001 when he was sailing through the Northwest Passage, the sea route that winds through the Canadian Arctic. The passage usually has heavy patches of ice even in the summer. As he wended through the passage, Comer noticed something strange: His boat never touched a single piece of ice during the 19-day trip. Alarmed, he contacted a few scientists who specialize in climate change. He didn't like what he learned: Abrupt climate change was escalating. Comer quickly decided he wanted to help finance research on the subject, and his private foundation added a new grant-making program to provide research grants to scientists. To date, the foundation has spent $25 billion supporting climate-change research, according to Bill Schleicher, a foundation spokesman.

Pierre and Pam Omidyar—$66.7 million to the Omidyar Network. Pierre Omidyar, 39 and the founder of eBay, and his wife, Pam, also 39 and chairwoman of HopeLab, a Palo Alto, Calif., organization that develops technology to help chronically ill children, gave $62.7 million to the nonprofit branch of the Omidyar Network, in Redwood City, Calif. The couple created the network in 2004 to take over the operations of their foundation. One arm of the network gives money to nonprofit organizations, while the other branch is a for-profit unit that invests in businesses that promote social change. The Omidyars spent about $18 million on the for-profit branch. The money given to the nonprofit arm will be used for grants to 57 nonprofit groups, including the Boulder Institute of Microfinance in Colorado, Common Sense Media in San Francisco, DonorsChoose in New York, the Grameen Foundation in Washington, and Youth Noise in San Francisco. The Omidyars also gave $4 million to HopeLab and other nonprofit groups.

Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey—$58.3 million to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation and Oprah's Angel Network. Winfrey, 53, chairwoman of Harpo, a multimedia entertainment company in Chicago, and host of The Oprah Winfrey Show, donated $50 million to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation, in Chicago. The money will be used to pay construction costs and operating costs of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls South Africa, in Henley-on-Klip, South Africa. During a 2000 visit with Nelson Mandela, Winfrey pledged $10 million to establish a school for needy girls in South Africa. Construction crews broke ground for the 38-building campus in 2002, and the academy opened in January. The private academy is designed to serve grades 7 through 12 and integrates leadership education into a rounded liberal-arts curriculum in an effort to help women prepare to take leadership roles in South Africa. In addition, Winfrey gave $5.9 million to Oprah's Angel Network in Chicago, for operating costs. She established the nonprofit organization in 1998 to encourage other celebrities and her fans to donate to charity. She pays the organization's administration costs so that all of the money donated from others can go to charitable causes. Winfrey donated an additional $2.4 million to other nonprofit groups.

Wallace D. Malone Jr.—$55.9 million to the Malone Family Foundation. Malone, 70, founder of the SouthTrust Corporation, which was purchased by Wachovia in 2004, started the Malone Family Foundation in 2006 with 1 million shares of Wachovia stock acquired in a buyout agreement in April. The stock was worth approximately $56 million in mid-April and has reached values up to $60 million in the past year. The foundation, in Malone's hometown of Dothan, Ala., will give three-quarters of its grants to schools and colleges in Florida, where Malone lives; in Alabama, where he attended school; and in Georgia. His motivation, he said, "is pretty simple: If you want to raise the standard of living of people, you've got to raise the level of education." He has not decided what other causes the foundation will support. Malone said he will make grants to educational institutions at all levels but will focus on students in elementary and high school, because, he said, "If you lose them there, forget the university." He had given small amounts to educational causes before, but he put off starting a foundation until last April, when he retired and had time to manage one. The Malone Foundation will begin making grants this winter.

Thomas M. Siebel—$55.8 million to the Thomas and Stacey Siebel Foundation, the Meth Project Foundation, Stanford University, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the National Center for Equine Facilitated Therapy. Siebel, 54, chairman of First Virtual Group, a holding company in Palo Alto, Calif., and founder of Siebel Systems, a software company in San Mateo, Calif., that merged with the Oracle Corporation last year, gave Oracle Corporation stock worth $39.7 million to the Thomas and Stacey Siebel Foundation, in Palo Alto, Calif. Thomas Siebel established the foundation with his wife, Stacey, in 1996. The foundation supports education, youth, and conservation groups, as well as organizations that prevent drug abuse and help homeless people. Thomas Siebel also gave $5 million to the Meth Project Foundation to support the Montana Meth Project in Missoula, an organization he founded to help fight methamphetamine use. He also gave approximately $3 million to Stanford University in California for upkeep of the university's golf-practice facilities; $2 million to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation in California to expand a medical facility; $2 million to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for a professorship in the history of science; and $1.9 million to the National Center for Equine Facilitated Therapy in Woodside, Calif., for a new facility and operating costs. He also gave $1.7 million to the Siebel Scholars Foundation, in Palo Alto, Calif., and $500,000 to the Salvation Army in Alexandria, Va., to pay for food and shelter for homeless people in New York and Palm Desert, Calif.

Frederic N. and Eleanor H. Schwartz—$53.5 million to Syracuse University and Brown University. Frederic Schwartz, who died in 1995 at age 88, and Eleanor Schwartz, who died last June at 98, left two gifts of $26.5 million each, one to Syracuse University in New York for student financial aid and the other to Brown University, in Providence, R.I., for scholarships for female students. Frederic Schwartz,the formerchairman of Bristol-Myers Co., a pharmaceutical company in New York, graduated from Syracuse in 1931; Eleanor Schwartz attended Pembroke College, Brown's women's college, which merged with the university's undergraduate program in 1971. In the mid-1960s, the Schwartzes established a trust for the two universities with 2,900 shares of stock in Bristol-Myers. The Schwartzes made nominal gifts annually to both institutions for many years. Their estate also left an additional $500,000 to Syracuse, which was rolled into the scholarship fund that the larger gift established.

Paul Allen
Paul Allen

Paul G. Allen—$52.8 million to the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, the Experience Music Project, the Science Fiction Museum, and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. Allen, 54, founder of Vulcan, an investment company in Seattle, and co-founder of Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash., gave $37.5 million to the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation in Seattle. The money will be used primarily to support arts and culture groups and social-service programs for needy people. He also gave $14 million to the Experience Music Project and the Science Fiction Museum, both in Seattle. Allen established the Experience Music Project, a museum dedicated to rock 'n' roll music, in 2000 and created the Science Fiction Museum, which is housed in the same facility as the music museum, in 2003. In addition, he gave $1.3 million to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in Albuquerque for the Startup Gallery, a permanent exhibit that traces the history of the microcomputer and is focused on the ways in which it changed how people live and work. Allen came up with the idea for the gallery and chose Albuquerque as its location as a way to honor the city where he and Bill Gates first started Microsoft.

Peter S. and Helen Bing—$50.5 million toStanford University and Johns Hopkins University. Peter Bing, 72, a real-estate developer, private investor, and physician, and his wife, Helen, pledged $50 million to Stanford University to pay for construction costs for a new concert hall as part of the university's planned performing-arts center. Dr. Bing earned a bachelor's degree at the university in 1955 and serves on its board. The couple previously supported Stanford with gifts to benefit the university library, the endowment of the Bing Stanford in Washington Program, and the Bing Overseas Studies Programs. Neither the university nor the Bings would say how much they have given in the past. The couple also gave $500,000 to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore to support prostate-cancer research. Dr. Bing is a member of the Johns Hopkins Prostate Cancer Advisory Board.

Geoffrey Beene—$44 million to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Beene, fashion designer and founder of Geoffrey Beene Inc., who died of cancer in 2004 at age 80, left a $44 million gift to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. The gift will establish a medical facility to be named the Geoffrey Beene Cancer Research Center, which will focus on ways to translate scientific discoveries into practical applications. The charities Beene designated as beneficiaries of his will announced his gifts over the span of more than a year. As a result, Beene's bequests of $10 million apiece to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Animal Medical Center in New York were counted as part of last year's top-donors list, on which Beene was ranked No. 57.

Jonathan M. Tisch—$40 million to Tufts University. Tisch, 53, co-chairman of Loews Corporation, a holding company, and chief executive of Loews Hotels in New York, gave $40 million to Tufts University in Medford, Mass., to endow the College of Citizenship and Public Service, which was renamed after him in honor of his gift. He earned a bachelor's degree in political science at Tufts in 1976. Tisch has been a university trustee for more than 18 years and serves as co-chairman of the university's capital campaign to raise $1.2 billion by 2010. He also gave $47,500 to Tufts' annual fund.

Jack and Marie Lord—$40 million tothe Hawaii Community Foundation. Jack Lord, an actor who starred in the television crime drama Hawaii Five-0 and who died in 1998 at age 77, and his wife, Marie, who died in 2005, bequeathed approximately $40 million—their entire estate—to the Hawaii Community Foundation in Honolulu. The money will establish an endowment the Lords wanted to create specifically to help support 12 nonprofit groups, most of which are in Honolulu. The groups are the Association for Retarded Citizens in Hawaii, which helps mentally disabled people live independently; the Bishop Museum, a natural- and cultural-history museum; Eye of the Pacific Guide Dogs; the Hawaiian Humane Society; the Hawaii Lions Eye Foundation, which operates an eye-tissue donor bank; Hawaii Public Television Foundation; the Honolulu Academy of Arts; Hospice Hawaii; the Salvation Army, Hawaii Division; St. Francis Hospice Care Center; the United Service Organizations of Hawaii, a group that provides entertainment to military personnel and services to military families; and the Variety School of Hawaii, which serves children with learning disabilities. Last year, the groups received between $28,000 and $97,000 from the endowment. Most of the couple's assets were in stocks, bonds, and real estate, and earnings from the bequest are expected to generate about $1.6 million a year. Each one of the dozen groups could eventually receive as much as $32,000 to $340,000 a year from the endowment, depending on investment performance, said officials at the foundation. Foundation officials described the Lords, who lived on the island of Oahu, as private people who believed personal philanthropy was crucial to preserving the quality of life on the Hawaiian islands.

Theodore (Ted) and Vada Stanley—$38.1 million to the Stanley Medical Research Institute. Ted Stanley, 75, founder of MBI, a Norwalk, Conn., company that develops and markets collectible items, and his wife, Vada, 73, paid $37 million of their $72 million pledge to the Stanley Medical Research Institute in Chevy Chase, Md. The money will be used to support research on the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. The Stanleys helped establish the foundation in 1989. In addition, the Stanleys donated a total of $1.1 million to more than two dozen nonprofit groups, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and the Prince of Wales Arts & Kids Foundation in London.

Sanford I. (Sandy) Jr. and Joan H. Weill—$37.6 million to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Hebrew Home for the Aged at Riverdale, the National Academy Foundation, the Touch Foundation, the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and the Weill Charitable Foundation. Weill, 73 and a retired chairman of Citigroup in New York, and his wife, Joan, donated $37.6 million to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Hebrew Home for the Aged at Riverdale, the National Academy Foundation, the Touch Foundation, and the Weill Charitable Foundation, all in New York, as well as the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, in Ann Arbor. The donations were a combination of stock and cash gifts, and all were paid in full, though Sandy Weill declined to say how much individual organizations received. He gave most of his money as challenge grants, which required groups to raise an equal amount of money from other sources. Weill said the common thread through his donations was education, defined broadly as improving and informing the public. "What we do in science and medical research also includes education," he said, and he classified arts organizations in the same way. Another common thread was that, in addition to their wealth, the Weills donated much of their time to the organizations they support, often by serving on boards of directors. "We believe philanthropy is not just about money," said Weill, "but about ideas and being willing to devote time and brain power."

Gilbert D. and Jaylee M. Mead
Gilbert D. and Jaylee M. Mead

Gilbert D. and Jaylee M. Mead—$32.9 million to Arena Stage and the Signature Theatre. Gilbert Mead, 76, a retired research scientist from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Md., and heir to the Consolidated Papers fortune, and Jaylee Mead, 77 and retired as associate chief of the Space Data and Computing Division at Goddard, paid $31 million of their $35 million pledge to Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. Most of the money will be used to upgrade and refurbish the theater company's performance spaces, offices, and shops and to build a theater campus with classrooms and rehearsal space. The remaining $5 million will be used to match any gift from an Arena trustee. The Meads gave the theater an additional $175,000 last year to sponsor a production of Cabaret. The couple also paid $700,000 of a $1 million pledge to Signature Theatre in Arlington, Va. The Meads gave Signature an additional $75,000 to sponsor a production of Into the Woods as the show that was the first to be produced in the new facility. In addition, the Meads gave $949,922 to the Community Foundation of South Wood County, in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., where Gilbert Mead was born and raised.

Eugenia J. Dodson—$35.6 million to the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, which supports diabetes research at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dodson, who died in 2005 at age 100, invested money left to her by her late husband. She bequeathed $23.5 million to the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, in Hollywood, Fla., for diabetes research at the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine. She also left $12.1 million to the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center for cancer research. Dodson specified in her will that her money was to be spent on research aimed at finding cures for diabetes and cancer. Her two brothers died from complications related to diabetes, and Dodson survived a bout of lung cancer long before she died. Dodson, a former beauty-salon owner, was the widow of J. Enloe Dodson, a civil engineer who owned a partial interest in a limestone quarry in Oolitic, Ind. He left Ms. Dodson about $200,000 when he died in 1949, and she invested that money. Together, the donations make up the bulk of her estate.

Ming Hsieh—$35 million to the University of Southern California School of Engineering. Hsieh, 50, founder of Cogent, a technology firm in Pasadena, Calif., that specializes in sophisticated identification systems including fingerprinting, gave $35 million to the University of Southern California's Viterbi School of Engineering in Los Angeles to coincide with the 100th anniversary of its electrical-engineering program. Hsieh (pronounced "shee") graduated from the university in 1984 with a master's degree in electrical engineering after earning his bachelor's degree in the same field a year earlier. In exchange for this gift, his first to the university, the department has been renamed in his honor. Born on a rice farm in northern China, Hsieh grew up very poor. As a child, he constructed small radios and televisions from spare parts, according to a university spokesman. His interest in electronics was stoked by an uncle, and Hsieh emigrated to the United States to attend college after coming into an inheritance. He recently became a naturalized U.S. citizen.

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