The 60 largest American charitable contributions of the year.

The 60 largest American charitable contributions of the year.

The 60 largest American charitable contributions of the year.

Analysis of the year's biggest philanthropists.
Feb. 15 2007 11:27 PM

The 2006 Slate 60: Pledges

The 60 largest American charitable contributions of the year.

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Theodore (Ted) and Vada Stanley—$73.1 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, pledged $72 million 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.

T. Denny Sanford—$70.5 million to the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority. Sanford, the CEO of United National Corporation, First Premier Bank, and Premier Bankcard, in Sioux Falls, S.D., pledged $70 million to the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority in Lead. The money will be used to renovate Homestake Gold Mine in Lead for use as a science and education center. Sanford made the pledge to persuade the National Science Foundation to choose Homestake as the site for the foundation's deep underground science and engineering laboratory. If the foundation chooses Homestake, Sanford will provide the money over four years. The largest portion of the pledge—$35 million—will pay for construction of two underground laboratories, while $20 million will go toward a center for children's science education. The remaining $15 milion will be used to renovate and upgrade Homestake's electrical system and the equipment used in mine shafts. If the foundation does not choose Homestake, Sanford will rescind his pledge. The foundation did not reply to requests to comment on whether the Homestake mine would be chosen, but an official from the office of South Dakota's governor, Mike Rounds, said the National Science Foundation has not yet made a decision. Sanford also pledged $250,000 to First Tee of St. Paul Highland Junior Golf Program and donated $100,000 to St. Paul Central High School for a gym. He also gave $60,000 to the WPO Foundation in Alexandria, Va.; $50,000 to Sioux Empire United Way in Sioux Falls, S.D.; $10,000 to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation in Phoenix; and the remainder to other nonprofit groups in Arizona and Minnesota. Sanford has already secured a place on the 2007 list of big donors: This month he announced a $400 million pledge to Sioux Valley Hospital and Health Systems in South Dakota, which renamed itself Sanford Health in his honor.


Irwin M. and Joan K. Jacobs—$62 million to American Technion Society, Cornell University, KPBS-FM radio, and San Diego Natural History Museum. Irwin Jacobs, 73, founder of Qualcomm, a wireless-communications company in San Diego, and his wife, Joan, 74, pledged $30 million to the American Technion Society in New York to establish graduate fellowships at the Jacobs Graduate School at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. The Jacobs fellowships focus on innovative science and technology ventures. The Jacobses have paid $500,000 so far. The couple also pledged $30 million to Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., to establish an annual $750,000 fellowship program each for graduate and undergraduate engineering students. Both Jacobs and his wife earned bachelor's degrees from Cornell: he in electrical engineering in 1956, she from the College of Human Ecology in 1954. The Jacobses made an additional pledge of $1 million over five years to KPBS-FM, an NPR station at San Diego State University. The money, $200,000 of which has been paid, will establish a fund to train radio journalists on using the Internet and multimedia technology to enhance their journalism and to strengthen small media outlets that cover local issues. The Jacobses also pledged $1 million to the San Diego Natural History Museum to help bring the Dead Sea Scrolls to San Diego for a six-month exhibition this June.

Ronald O. Perelman—$60.8 million to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Carnegie Hall, and the World Trade Center Site Memorial. Perelman, 64 and chairman of MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings, a holding company in New York, as well as the chairman of Revlon, pledged $25 million to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where he is a board member. He also pledged $20 million to Carnegie Hall in New York, where he serves on the board of trustees, to support education and artistic programs. The organization named the stage in the Isaac Stern Auditorium for Perelman, established the Ronald O. Perelman Family Music Endowment for elementary and secondary music-education students, and started the Perelman American Roots program, an effort to bring more music education to New York's public schools. Perelman also pledged $5 million to support the World Trade Center Site Memorial in New York. He also gave $1 million to the Revlon Run/Walk. In addition, he gave a total of $9.8 million to more than 200 charities. Those gifts support medical research, women's health, the arts, education, and Jewish causes.

Edward P. Bass—$60 million to Yale University. Bass, 61, chairman of Fine Line, an investment and venture-capital management firm in Fort Worth, pledged $60 million to Yale University to help construct and renovate science facilities on campus. He and the university declined to offer further details about the commitment. A 1968 graduate of Yale who earned a bachelor's degree in administrative science, Bass has now donated or pledged more than $100 million to the institution. (To date, Bass' family, including his brother and father, have committed more than twice that amount to Yale.) Bass, who also studied at Yale's graduate School of Architecture for three years, has served on boards for museums and environmental programs at the university.

John Morgridge
John Morgridge

John P. and Tashia F. Morgridge—$60 million to the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery and Lesley University. John Morgridge, 73, chairman emeritus of Cisco Systems, an Internet technology company in San Jose, Calif., and Tashia Morgridge, 74, retired director of special-education at the Meadowbrook School, a private elementary and middle school in Weston, Mass., pledged $50 million to the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery in Madison. The money will help pay for construction of a building that will be home to two science centers. One of the centers will be supported by government grants and will be owned and operated by the University of Wisconsin at Madison. The other, to be named the Morgridge Institute for Research, will operate primarily on private support. The donors hope that this structure will allow scientists to make faster breakthroughs because they will not have to comply with restrictions on the use of government money for research on stem cells, for example. The Morgridges both graduated in 1955 from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, near where the institutes will be located. The couple also donated $10 million worth of Cisco Systems stock to Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass., for its School of Education, where Tashia Morgridge earned a master's degree in 1975. The Morgridges said the university could use the money for any purpose, as long as it benefits the education school.

Ernest and Evelyn Rady—$60 million to Children's Hospital and Health Center in San Diego.ErnestRady, 69 and founder of Westcorp, an automobile-finance company sold to Wachovia in 2005 for $3.42 billion, and founder of American Assets, chairman of the Insurance Company of the West, and chairman of the Wachovia Corporation's Dealer Finance Division and its California banking business in San Diego, and Evelyn Rady, a retired social worker, pledged $60 million to Children's Hospital and Health Center in San Diego for new facilities and programs. As a result of the gift, the hospital system was renamed Rady Children's Hospital and Health Center. Most of the pledge is expected to be paid within five years and will pay for a new building that is scheduled to open in 2010. The building will have a cancer-care center, conference space, a neonatal intensive-care center, a surgical center, and 84 patient beds. Ernest Rady was chairman of the hospital's board from 1990 to 1993.

George Soros—$60 million to the Millennium Promise Alliance and the Open Society Institute. Soros, 76, chairman of Soros Fund Management, a hedge-fund management firm in New York, and of the Open Society Institute, a network of foundations, pledged $50 million—of which $10 million has been paid—to the Millennium Promise Alliance, in New York, for the organization's Millennium Village Project. The village project wants to fight poverty in 33 villages in sub-Saharan Africa by working to alleviate hunger, push for women's rights, and improve education and health care. The remainder of money will be paid out in $10 million increments annually for the next four years. In addition, Soros has pledged $10 million to the Open Society Institute, in New York. He specified that he wants the money to be used to help cities develop programs to treat drug addicts. The institution's Baltimore offshoot is trying to spread the program nationally, and officials there said Soros wants the drug-abuse treatment systems to be so successful that other cities will want to emulate the programs. It is likely that Soros gave the Open Society Institute far more last year. He provides money each year to pay for the foundation, which awarded $74.3 million in grants and held $858.9 million in assets in the fiscal year ending in December 2005, the most recent year for which data are available.

H. F. (Gerry) and Marguerite B. Lenfest—$55.7 million to Columbia University, the Fund for Eakins' Masterpiece, the Gesu School, the Franklin Institute, and Saint Joseph's University. Gerry Lenfest, 76 and the founder of Lenfest Communications in Wilmington, Del., which he sold to Comcast in 2000, and his wife, Marguerite, 73, pledged $48 millon to Columbia University in New York. The money will be used to match donations others make—up to $37.5 million to endow professorships in the graduate School of Arts and Sciences and up to $10.5 million at Columbia Law School. Gerry Lenfest, who graduated from the law school in 1958, serves on the university's board of trustees. The Lenfests also donated $3 million to the Fund for Eakins' Masterpiece, a Philadelphia nonprofit set up by the Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and other groups to raise $68 million needed to keep The Gross Clinic, an iconic 1875 painting by Thomas Eakins, in the city of Philadelphia. Thomas Jefferson University, the Philadelphia medical school that owned the painting, sold it in November to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, and to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark. The university gave the Philadelphia groups 45 days after the sale was announced to raise the money needed to keep the painting in the city. The fund-raising effort was successful, and the painting will split its exhibition time between the Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In addition, the couple gave $2.2 million to the Gesu School and $1 million to Saint Joseph's University, both in Philadelphia. The Lenfests also pledged $1 million to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, and $500,000 to the Opera Company of Philadelphia.

David H. Koch—$55 million to theAmerican Museum of Natural History, the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Koch, 66, vice president of Koch Industries, an investment company in Wichita, Kan., pledged $20 million to the American Museum of Natural History in New York. The money will be used for research and science programs focused on evolution and paleontology. Mr. Koch serves on the museum's board of directors. He also pledged $20 million—of which $2 million has been paid—to the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore for construction costs for a new cancer-research building; and $15 million—of which $5 million has been paid—to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York to support research. Koch is a board member at both cancer centers.

DeVos Family—$50 million toSpectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Mich. The four children, along with their spouses, of Richard and Helen DeVos—Dick and Betsy DeVos, Dan and Pamella DeVos, Cheri and Robert VanderWeide, Doug and Maria DeVos—gave $12.5 million each for a new building at DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids, Mich, which is run by Spectrum Health, a nonprofit health-care system. Richard DeVos, co-founder of the Amway Corporation, and Helen helped create the hospital. The $190 million building will be completed in 2010. The hospital was renamed Helen DeVos Children's Hospital as a result of the gift. Spectrum Health did not disclose the amount of the DeVoses' original gift. All four children and their families live in Grand Rapids. Dick DeVos is president of Windquest Group, an investment and management company, where his wife, Betsy, serves as chairwoman. Dan DeVos is president of DP Fox Ventures, an investment and management group, and his wife, Pamella, designs clothes for her Pamella Roland line of clothing. Cheri VanderWeide is president of the Robert and Cheri VanderWeide Foundation, and her husband, Robert, is president of VW Ventures, an investment and management company. Doug DeVos is co-president of Alticor, the parent company of Amway, and his wife, Maria, is vice president of the Douglas and Maria DeVos Foundation.

Melvin and Bren Simon—$50 million to the Indiana University Cancer Center. Melvin Simon, 80, co-founder of the Simon Property Group, a commercial real-estate company in Indianapolis, and Bren Simon, 64, president of MBS Associates, a property-management company in Carmel, Ind., pledged $50 million to the Indiana University Cancer Center. Half of the money will create a research endowment to attract top cancer researchers to the university's School of Medicine and support its cancer-research programs. The remaining half will help pay for the expansion of the cancer center's patient-care facility. The university did not disclose details of how the gift will be paid over time. The university named its cancer center the Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center to honor the donors. The research endowment was named for their son, Joshua Max Simon, who died of cardiac arrest in 1999 at age 25. Melvin Simon's company owns regional malls, including the Premium Outlet Centers, and he is a co-owner—with his brother, Herbert—of the Indiana Pacers. The couple's previous gifts to the university, which total more than $10 million, supported the Bess Meshulam Simon Music Library and Recital Center, the Helene G. Simon Hillel Center, and Simon Hall, a multidisciplinary science building.