The largest American charitable contributions of 2009.

Analysis of the year's biggest philanthropists.
Feb. 5 2010 4:49 PM

Slate 60: Donor Bios

The largest American charitable contributions of the year.

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35. Sanford I. and Joan H. Weill—$26 million to various arts, education, and health groups. Sanford Weill, 76, retired in 2006 as chairman of Citigroup. He and his wife, Joan, 75, pledged approximately $26 million to arts groups, education organizations, and health charities. No details were available about a payment schedule.

Sanford Weill is chairman of the board of trustees of Carnegie Hall and of the board of directors of the National Academy Foundation. He also serves on the boards of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and the White Nights Foundation of America. Joan Weill is chairwoman of the board of trustees of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and of the board of trustees of Paul Smith's College, in Paul Smiths, N.Y. She also serves on the board of the White Nights Foundation of America. Although the Slate 60 does not count or include payments made on past pledges, in 2009 the Weills gave $170 million in cash to Weill Cornell Medical College and to Cornell University to fulfill what was originally a $300 million pledge they made to those institutions in 2007.

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The couple originally planned that the pledge would be paid by their estate upon their deaths, but in 2008 Cornell officials asked the Weills to pay on their pledge early so that construction of a new research building would not be stalled. The Weills and the university agreed that the $170 million payment would fulfill the full pledge.

Sanford Weill said in April that the recession prompted him and his wife to agree to make the reduced payment rather than hold on to the money, and to encourage other donors to give money to the medical school and the university.

"Lots of institutions were having problems with their investment portfolio in the second half of the year and everybody was sort of frozen and nobody was doing anything except feeling bad," said Weill. "So I thought it was a very important time for us to do something that would be dramatic."

36. B. Charles and Joyce Eichhorn Ames—$25 million to Illinois Wesleyan University. Charles Ames retired in 2007 as vice chairman of Clayton Dubilier & Rice, a private-equity firm in New York and London. Ames and his wife, Joyce, pledged $25 million to Illinois Wesleyan University. Of the total committed, $10 million will endow professorships. University officials have not said how the remainder of the money will be spent, and no details were available about a payment schedule. Charles Ames graduated from the university in 1950, and Joyce Ames graduated in 1949. Not including this recent pledge, the couple has given the institution a total of $14 million.

36. John A. and Jenny Paulson—$25 million toNew York University's Leonard N. Stern School of Business and Southampton Hospital Foundation. John Paulson founded Paulson & Company, a New York hedge fund. The Paulsons pledged $20 million to New York University's Leonard N. Stern School of Business. Of the total pledged, $11 million will be used for campus renovations, $5 million will support two professorships, and $4 million will go toward scholarships. No details were available about a payment schedule.

A 1978 graduate of the business school, John Paulson serves on its board of overseers. The Paulsons also gave $5 million to the Southampton Hospital Foundation for a new emergency department, which is scheduled to open in May.

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36. Eric E. and Wendy Schmidt— $25 million to Princeton University. Eric Schmidt is CEO of Google. The Schmidts pledged $25 million to Princeton University to establish and endow the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Transformative Technology Fund, which will support the development of new technologies that could eventually be used to improve research in engineering and the natural sciences. The Schmidts and the university declined to provide details about a payment schedule. Eric Schmidt graduated from Princeton in 1976 with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. He is chairman of the New America Foundation's board of directors and serves on the advisory board of the Computer History Museum. Wendy Schmidt serves on the board of trustees of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

36. Bernard and Anne Spitzer—$25 million toCity College of New York. Bernard Spitzer founded Spitzer Engineering, a real-estate development and management company in New York. Anne Spitzer teaches English literature at Hunter College, an institution within the City University of New York system. Bernard, 85, and wife, Anne, 82, pledged $25 million to the City College of New York to benefit its school of architecture. The money will support undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships, faculty research, and other programs in the architecture school. No details were available about a payment schedule. Bernard Spitzer graduated from City College in 1943 with a bachelor's degree in engineering. He serves on the board of the City College 21st Century Foundation.

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40. Irwin M. and Joan K. Jacobs—$24.3 million to the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Fund at Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego. Irwin Jacobs founded Qualcomm, a wireless-communications company in San Diego. Jacobs, 76, and his wife, Joan, 77, gave $24.3 million to the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Fund, their donor-advised fund, at the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego. Through the fund they awarded grants to numerous nonprofit organizations. Their top five grant recipients last year were the San Diego Symphony; the University of California at San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering; the Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater and Science Center, in San Diego; the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, in San Diego; and the University of California at San Francisco's School of Medicine.

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41. Jerry W. and Judith S. Davis—$22 million to the University of Florida Shands Cancer Center and the Tennessee Tech School of Nursing. Jerry Davis is a private investor and a former chairman of Computer Management Sciences in Jacksonville, Fla. Davis, 65, and his wife, Judith, 67, pledged $21 million, of which $3 million has been paid in cash, to the University of Florida's Shands Cancer Center in Gainesville. Of the total committed, they have directed $20 million toward research and $1 million to support the center's hospital. The remaining $18 million will be paid out over the next nine years in annual increments of $2 million. Both of the Davises are cancer survivors. Davis was treated at the Shands Center and serves on the board of directors of Shands HealthCare. He earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the university in 1968.

In addition, the couple gave $1 million to the Tennessee Tech School of Nursing, in Cookeville. The money will support scholarships for 10 students each year who are from Oneida, Tenn., Judith Davis' hometown. Jerry Davis also serves on the boards of the University of Florida Foundation and the University of Florida Investment Corp., both in Gainesville, and the First Jax Foundation in Jacksonville. Both Davises serve on the board of the Tennessee Tech Foundation.

41. John W. and Janice B. Fisher—$22 million to theIvy Tech Foundation. Fisher was a retired chairman of the Ball Corp., an international packaging company. Janice Fisher is the daughter of Edmund B. Ball, one of the five brothers who founded Ball Bros. Glass Manufacturing Company, the forerunner to the Ball Corp. John Fisher, who died in June at 93, and Janice gave a building valued at more than $20 million to the Ivy Tech Foundation, the fundraising arm of Ivy Tech Community College in Muncie, Ind.

Included in the donation of the Fisher Building, which was the former headquarters of the Ball Corp., is the land it sits on, plus all furnishings and parking lots attached to the facility. The couple donated the building shortly before John Fisher's death from leukemia. The structure will house classrooms, computer labs, faculty offices, and student study spaces, lounges, and collaborative work areas.

Although Fisher retired in 1986, he kept an office in downtown Muncie, near Ivy Tech's campus. As a result of this proximity, he and his wife became acquainted with the college and its students and became donors to the college through personal gifts and through the Ball Bros. Foundation. In addition, Fisher bequeathed $2 million to Ball Memorial Hospital Foundation in Muncie, Ind. He earmarked half of the gift for medical education and the remaining $1 million can be used for any purpose approved by the hospital's board. Mr. Fisher served on the hospital's board of directors for 55 years.

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43. M.A. Douglas—$21 million to the University of California at Irvine Medical Center. Douglas founded Income Property Services, a real-estate-development company in Orange, Calif. Douglas, who died in 2008 at 97, bequeathed $21 million to the University of California at Irvine Medical Center, also in Orange. The money will go toward the medical center's new hospital. Douglas was never a patient at the hospital and had no ties to it, according to a spokesman for the medical center. His office was one block away, and he passed it every day on the way to his real-estate company. Before his death, he left the decision as to where his bequest should go up to the trustees of his estate. The only stipulation Douglas made was that the money benefit people in Orange County, Calif., where most of his business was centered.

43. Stewart A. and Linda R. Resnick—$21 million to theCalifornia Institute of Technology. The Resnicks manage Roll International Corp., a Los Angeles holding company for Paramount Farms, a tree-farming business; Fiji Water; POM Wonderful, a grower of pomegranates and manufacturer of pomegranate juice; and Teleflora, a service for ordering flowers by phone and online, among other companies. They pledged $21 million to the California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena, for its new Sustainability Institute, which will seek new science and engineering developments designed to help solve global energy and climate problems. The center will be named for the Resnicks. The couple paid $1 million toward their commitment last year and plan to pay the remainder over the next several years. Stewart Resnick has served on the institute's Board of Trustees since 2005.

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45. Henry P. and Rebecca L. Conn—$20 million to the University of Louisville. Henry Conn is the former executive vice president of A.T. Kearny, an international management-consulting company with headquarters in Chicago.

The Conns, both 68, pledged $20 million to the University of Louisville to establish the Conn Center for Renewable Energy and Environmental Stewardship. The Conns have not yet decided on a payment schedule. Discussions about the gift began a few years ago, when Henry, who holds three degrees from the university and serves on its board of trustees, was searching, along with Rebecca, for a way to leave a big mark through their philanthropy. Henry Conn, now a writer and consultant on energy issues who lives in Atlanta, became convinced that the University of Louisville could become a leader in developing new forms of energy. He says it is critical that the United States assume a key role in such research: "It's kind of a Sputnik moment right now."

The Conns thought about making the gift anonymously but then decided lending their name made more sense, given the active role Henry Conn hoped to play. Today, Conn is trying to help the university raise money from corporations. "My vision is grand," he says, adding, with a laugh: "The dean probably feels like crawling off somewhere when I talk about it."

In addition to their support for the University of Louisville, the Conn made gifts totaling at least $20,000 to the Special Olympics, the Salvation Army, and roughly 10 other groups. Henry Conn says the couple had intended to cut back their support to other charities when they made the university gift, but the recession's toll on nonprofit groups prompted them to continue giving.

45. Jay A. Precourt—$20 million to Stanford University. Precourt is chairman of Hermes Consolidate, an oil company in Denver. He pledged $20 million to Stanford University to support the Precourt Institute for Energy, a research center where scientists are studying ways to provide affordable and environmentally sustainable energy. No details were available about the donor's schedule for paying the pledge. Precourt graduated from the university in 1959 with a bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering, and a master's in the same field in 1960. In 2006, he pledged $30 million to Stanford to establish the energy institute.

45. Virginia Bernthal Toulmin—$20 million to the Dayton Foundation. Toulmin is a former nurse and businesswoman whose late husband, Harry A. Toulmin Jr., was an international patent lawyer. Toulmin's father was the lawyer who secured the Wright brothers' patent for their ground-breaking "flying machine." Toulmin pledged approximately $20 million to the Dayton Foundation in Ohio to endow a fund, in the Toulmins' name, that will support local nonprofit groups. Toulmin placed no restrictions on the donation, which the grant-maker will receive on her death. Toulmin now lives in Florida, but spent more than 40 years in Dayton.

"Harry and I had a very happy life together in Dayton," she said in a news release. "He grew up in the region and made a very successful living here. We owe Dayton something in return."

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48. W.A. "Tex" Moncrief Jr.—$18 million to the University of Texas at Austin. Moncrief is president of Montex Drilling and of Moncrief Oil in Fort Worth, Texas, which were founded by his father, W.A. "Monty" Moncrief. Moncrief, 89, gave the University of Texas at Austin $18 million to endow simulation-based engineering programs at the university's Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences. Simulation-based engineering involves the use of computer-simulation programs to help engineers in their work. Moncrief graduated from the university in 1942 with a bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering. He served on the University of Texas system's board of regents from 1987-93.

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49. William G. and Ernestine R. Lowrie—$17 million to Ohio State University. William Lowrie is a retired deputy chief executive of BP Amoco. William Lowrie, 66, and his wife, Ernestine, 69, pledged $17 million to Ohio State University for its Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. The Lowries have paid $5 million of the gift and hope to pay the rest by 2014. The university has named the department for the couple.

Of the total committed, $11 million will go toward the construction of a new laboratory building; $5 million will endow a new professorship and education and research programs; and $1 million will endow a professorship for an untenured faculty member in chemical and biomolecular engineering. The untenured professorship will be named for the late H.C. (Slip) Slider, who was a professor at the university and a mentor to William Lowrie.

"He had a tremendous impact on me and got me directed and interested. If he hadn't been there and done that, it's questionable whether I'd be in a position to give this kind of a gift," said Lowrie, who graduated from the university in 1966.

Mr. Lowrie serves on the university's board of trustees and is leading the committee charged with raising additional money for the new building. The Lowries decided to attach their name to the gift rather than give anonymously, because, said William Lowrie, "I don't think giving a gift like this anonymously helps with fundraising."

Aside from the Slider professorship, the couple placed only one restriction on the gift: that the university not change the name of the new building, which will replace the current Koffolt Laboratories facility. That building was named for the late Joseph H. Koffolt, another chemical and biomolecular department professor who influenced Lowrie. In no uncertain terms, said the donor, "Joe's name stays on the building."

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50. B. Thomas Golisano—$16.2 million to the B. Thomas Golisano Foundation. Golisano founded Paychex, a Rochester, N.Y., company that provides businesses with payroll and other services. Golisano, 68, gave $10.2 million to the B. Thomas Golisano Foundation, in Pittsford, N.Y., to support programs and services for developmentally disabled people, the grant-maker's main giving priority. He established the foundation in 1985. The foundation gave a total of $700,000 in 2009 and, including this newest donation, has assets of $25 million.

In addition to the money he put into his foundation, Golisano pledged $4 million, of which $2 million has been paid, to Ave Maria University in Florida for an indoor athletics facility. He also gave $2 million to the Clinton Global Initiative, an annual philanthropy event in New York that is the brainchild of former President Bill Clinton.

51. Alfred C. Warrington IV—$16 million to the University of Florida's Warrington College of Business Administration. Warrington retired in 1990 as a managing partner at the now-defunct accounting firm Arthur Andersen and went on to found companies in Houston and Atlanta. Warrington pledged $16 million to the University of Florida's Warrington College of Business Administration to establish an endowment to support faculty salaries and benefits. Details about a payment schedule were not available.

The business school was named for Warrington in 1996, when he donated $11 million. He graduated from the university in 1958 with a bachelor's degree in business administration.

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52. David M. Rubenstein—$15.8 million to the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and Duke University. Rubenstein, 61, co-founded the Carlyle Group, a private-equity firm in Bethesda, Md. He pledged $10 million to the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts for its redevelopment project. Rubenstein serves as a vice chairman of the center's board of directors and led the center's recent capital campaign. Details about a payment schedule were not available.

In addition, he pledged $5.8 million to Duke University for its Sanford School of Public Policy. Details about a payment schedule were not available. Rubenstein graduated from Duke in 1970 and serves on the university's board of trustees.

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