The 2007 Slate 60: Donations

Analysis of the year's biggest philanthropists.
Feb. 11 2008 7:35 AM

The 2007 Slate 60: Donations

The largest American charitable contributions of the year.

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Don and Sanday Logan—$35 million to Auburn University. The gift from Logan, the former chairman of Time Warner's Media and Communications Group and the former CEO of Time Inc., will create the first endowed chair at Auburn's College of Science and Mathematics and will also support graduate fellowships.

David H. Murdock—$35 million to Duke University Medical School. The donation will fund a biomedical research project focused on developing more comprehensive and effective approaches to attacking cancer, diabetes, liver diseases, brain disorders, and other maladies. Specifically, the gift supports a study linking genetic data to disease risk and treatment outcomes. Murdock is the owner and chairman of Dole Food Company and the real estate development company Castle & Cooke Inc.

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Patrick Soon-Shiong Family—$35 million to Saint John's Health Center. The donation will support the California hospital's expansion, including funds to complete the building of an inpatient life science center, and to begin development of a new Center for Translational Sciences. Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is the founder and chief executive officer of Abraxis BioScience.

Robert Wilson—$30.5 million, including $22.5 million to the Archdiocese of New York and $8 million to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The former donation is earmarked for need-based scholarships to Catholic elementary schools in Manhattan, Staten Island, and the Bronx. The latter provides matching funds. Wilson began his career at First Boston Corp. and then managed money until starting a hedge fund in 1968. He aims to give away 70 percent of his net worth.

Irwin Jacobs and Joan Jacobs—$30 million to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to fund graduate fellowships for students in the school of engineering. Irwin Jacobs taught electrical engineering and computer science at MIT and UC-San Diego before founding Qualcomm, a telecommunications company.

Sheldon Adelson—$30 million to the Adelson School and Hebrew Senior Life. The former gift funds the creation of a private Jewish high school in Las Vegas. The latter contributes to a fund-raising campaign. Adelson is CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp., which operates the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas.

Eugene and Marilyn Glick—$30 million to Indiana University. The donation will allow the university to establish an eye research institute and to create an endowment for research in eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy. Since 1947, the Glicks have owned and operated the Gene B. Glick Company, which builds and manages apartments in 11 states.

Charles and Anne Duncan—$30 million to Rice University. The donation will support the construction of an environmentally sustainable residential college. It will be the first Rice building to receive gold-level certification from the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED standards program. Anne Duncan serves on the board of the Nature Conservancy of Texas. Charles Duncan was U.S. secretary of energy under President Carter.

William R. Hough—$30 million to theUniversity of Florida's Warrington College of Business Administration. The donation establishes an endowment to support teaching and provides lead funds for a new campus building. A member of the first class of Florida MBA graduates, Hough founded and operated the investment banking firm William R. Hough & Co. in St. Petersburg, Fla., for 42 years.

J. Peter and  Florine Ministrelli—$30 million to the Beaumont Hospitals, a regional health provider in Michigan, to support its cardiology and urology programs. This brings the Ministrellis' cumulative giving to the Beaumont Hospitals to more than $50 million. J. Peter Ministrelli—like his wife, a native Detroiter—founded Ministrelli Construction in 1951. This is the Ministrellis' first appearance on the Slate 60.

Michael Recanati and Ira Statfeld—$30 million to the New York University Child Study Center, where Statfeld and Recanati are board members. The gift will be used to establish the Asperger's Institute, with $20 million going to support clinical services, research, and educational programs and $10 million going toward a capital campaign. Recanati's father, Raphael, founded the Overseas Shipholding Group of New York as well as an American branch of his family's company, Israel Discount Bank.

Lester and Sue Smith—$30 million to the Baylor College of Medicine, to fund gene-based research into breast cancer. The Breast Center at BCM will be renamed in the Smiths' honor. With this gift, the Smiths' cumulative giving to Baylor exceeds $40 million. Lester Smith is CEO of the Houston-based Smith Energy Company; the Lester and Sue Smith Foundation support numerous nonprofit organizations in the area.

Ronald Tutor—$30 million to the University of Southern California, where Tutor is an alumnus. Tutor's donation was the lead gift for USC's new student center. Tutor is the president and CEO of the Tutor-Saliba Corporation, a construction and engineering firm. This is his second appearance on the Slate 60; in 1997, he made a $10 million donation to USC's school of engineering.

James S. McDonnell Family—$30 million to Princeton University, to establish the McDonnell Center for Systems Neuroscience. James S. McDonnell, a pioneer in the aerospace industry, founded the company that later became McDonnell Douglas, which merged with Boeing in 1997. McDonnell graduated from Princeton in 1921. His sons, John and James III (also Princeton alumni) have made several endowments to the university in their father's honor, including a building for the physics department and several professorships.

Alex Joseph is a Slate intern.

Juliet Lapidos is a former Slate associate editor.

Nina Shen Rastogi is a writer and editor, and is also the vice president for content at Figment.

Jon Rubin is a Slate intern.

Chris Wilson is a Slate contributor.