18. Charles E. Kaufman—$53.3 million to the Pittsburgh Foundation. Kaufman, who died in September at age 97, was an investor and retired director of purchasing for the pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. He bequeathed an estimated $50 million to the Pittsburgh Foundation. Most of the gift, between $35 million and $40 million, will go to a fund he established at the foundation in 2005, the Charles E. Kaufman Foundation. The fund supports research in biology, chemistry, and physics and supports awards "for achievement in and contribution to the field and humanity," according to its mission statement. It was created with $1.5 million from Mr. Kaufman and has since given three awards of $50,000 each to researchers. The remainder of the bequest will go to a donor-advised fund Kaufman established in 1984 with his late sister, Virginia, that supports causes in Jewish health care, land conservation, programs for older adults, and public education. He made his fortune late in life and said he wanted to earn enough to give a lot away. According to his lawyer and the executor of his estate, Wendy Denton Heleen, he made savvy investments in the stock market and several drug and science enterprises after he retired from his position at Merck. Additionally, Kaufman left $3.34 million to 25 charities across the nation, including organizations that focus on the environment, Jewish life and culture, social services, and higher education. They include $1 million to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, in Pittsburgh; $300,000 to Jewish Family and Children's Service of Pittsburgh; $50,000 to the International Rescue Committee in New York; $50,000 to the Jewish National Fund in New York; $50,000 to Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Irving, Texas; and $30,000 to American Forests in Washington. At age 92, Kaufman learned how to use a computer. While online, he came across the Welch Foundation, a grant maker in Houston that supports chemical research at educational institutions in Texas. Drawing inspiration from the foundation, Kaufman called Heleen to formulate his philanthropic plans. Heleen says he often talked about being a child of the Depression. Modest in both his temperament and way of life, few people knew of Kaufman's wealth. Only in his later years did the Pittsburgh Foundation have an inkling as to the amount of money it was going to receive from him. A lifelong bachelor with no children, Kaufman lived for most of his life in the South Hills suburbs of Pittsburgh, much of the time with his sister. He earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering at the University of Cincinnati in 1936 and a master's degree in chemistry from Carnegie Mellon in 1942. While in graduate school, he worked as a chemical engineer at the Hagan Corporation, in Pittsburgh, which eventually became the Calgon Corporation and, later, Merck. Indeed, it was his education and career that guided his investment strategies, which involved putting money into companies at the forefront of cutting-edge scientific research. Heleen says Kaufman greatly hoped that his research fund would help someone win a Nobel Prize and would speak of that desire with a tear in his eye. In 2008, when he presented the first $50,000 award to a Carnegie Mellon professor for work in green chemistry, Kaufman said, "I can accomplish more through others than I ever could myself."
19. Edward P. (Ned) Evans: $50 million to Yale University. Evans, who died Dec. 31, 2010, at the age of 68, was a private investor and breeder of thoroughbred horses and chairman of Macmillan, a New York publishing company, from 1979 to 1989. He gave $50 million to Yale University, in New Haven, Conn., several weeks before his death. The money will be used for a new building in the university's School of Management, which Yale plans to name for Evans. He graduated from the university in 1964.
—Maria Di Mento
19. Ming Hsieh—$50 million to the University of Southern California. Hsieh, 55, founded AMAX Information Technologies, a computer server and storage systems company, in Fremont, Calif.; and Cogent, a Pasadena, Calif., company that develops automated fingerprint-identification systems. He pledged $50 million to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles to establish and endow a new institute for research into the field of nanomedicine to help develop new drugs and other types of therapy to treat cancer. He has paid $10 million toward the pledge and plans to pay the remainder in the coming years. Originally from Sheyang, China, Hsieh immigrated to the United States when he was 24. He said he made the gift to show his appreciation for the opportunities in the United States and to commemorate the 30th anniversary of his arrival in the country. Hsieh graduated from the university in 1983 with a bachelor of science in electrical engineering and a master of science in the same discipline in 1984. He serves on the university's board of trustees and in 2006 donated $35 million to the institution.—Maria Di Mento
19. Paul Ichiro Terasaki: $50 million to the University of California at Los Angeles
Donor's background: Terasaki, 82, is a retired professor of surgery at University of California at Los Angeles who co-founded One Lambda, a Canoga Park, Calif., company that creates and markets human-tissue-type tests that are used in organ transplants. He pledged $50 million to the University of California at Los Angeles. Terasaki has directed that $48 million go toward a new life-sciences building, which will be named for him, and the remaining $2 million will endow a professorship in surgery in the David Geffen School of Medicine. A payment schedule was not available.
Terasaki earned three degrees from the university: a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1950, a Master of Arts in 1952, and a Ph.D. in 1956.
Born in the Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles, Terasaki was 12 when his family, like many Japanese-Americans in the 1940s, was forced by the federal government to live in an internment camp during World War II. After the war ended, the family moved from the Gila River camp in Arizona, to Chicago, but eventually they returned to Southern California in 1948.
Although not a surgeon, Terasaki worked as a professor of surgery at the university from 1969 to 1999. Through his research there he developed, in 1964, a test for tissue typing that analyzes the compatibility of organ donors and recipients. The test became the standard method used throughout the world for matching transplant donors and recipients.
In 2006, Terasaki gave the university $5 million for a program promoting a better understanding between Japan and the United States.
—Maria Di Mento
19. P. Roy and Diana T. Vagelos—$50 million to the Columbia University Medical Center. Roy Vagelos, 81, is a retired chairman of the Merck & Company pharmaceuticals corporation, in Whitehouse Station, N.J., and is currently chairman of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, in Tarrytown, N.Y. Vagelos and his wife, Diana, 76, gave $50 million to Columbia University Medical Center, in New York, for a new building. He earned his medical degree from Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1954. Vagelos serves as chairman of Columbia University Medical Center's board of visitors. Diana Vagelos serves on Barnard College's board of trustees, in New York, and on the board of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, in Newark. The couple said the techniques taught in graduate and medical schools have changed greatly over the past decade, and they hope their gift helps provide students with the most advanced technology available. The couple, who met while he was a medical student at the university and she was a student at Barnard (which was then part of Columbia's system), also said they hope the new building provides "some social space for students to interact, study, and just enjoy their experience."
—Maria Di Mento
23. Bennett S. LeBow—$49 million to Drexel University. LeBow, 73, founded BSL Capital, a private investment company in New York. He is also chairman of the Borders Group, a bookstore company with headquarters in Ann Arbor, Mich.; and chairman of the Vector Group, a private-equity firm, in Miami, which is focused on real-estate and tobacco holdings. He pledged $45 million to Drexel University, in Philadelphia, for a new building in the LeBow College of Business. He has paid about $15 million of the pledge and plans to pay the remainder over the next 15 years. The business college was named for him in 1999, when he gave the university $10 million. He graduated from Drexel in 1960 with bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. LeBow also donated a total of $4 million last year to several groups that support cancer research.
—Maria Di Mento
24. Lawrence J. Ellison—$45.1 million to the Ellison Medical Foundation. Ellison, 66, founded Oracle Corporation. He gave $45.1 million to his Ellison Medical Foundation, in Bethesda, Md., for biomedical research. He started the foundation in 1997 to award grants to researchers and organizations studying the aging process, age-related disabilities and diseases, stem-cell research, and many other scientific fields of study that might not be supported by other resources. Last year the foundation gave out more than $38.9 million in grants.
—Maria Di Mento
25. Lee G. and Jane H. Seidman—$42 million to University Hospitals. Lee Seidman, 79, is the retired founder of the Motorcars Group, a chain of automobile dealerships in Cleveland. He and his wife, Jane, 70, pledged $42 million to University Hospitals in Cleveland for its cancer center, which the organization has named the University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center. The Seidmans' connection to University Hospitals goes back to their infancies; they were both born there. The gift also continues a change in their philosophy of giving that they made several years ago. In previous years, said Lee Seidman, the couple rarely declined requests for charitable donations, making small gifts to many types of charities. But after he retired in 2000, the couple started devoting more time to their philanthropy. In 2005 they began taking courses through the Wealth and Giving Forum, a New York group, which advises wealthy philanthropists, and over time they came to believe they could make a greater difference if they concentrated their giving in larger amounts and in one or two geographic areas or on one or two nonprofits. To that end, they chose to focus the bulk of their giving in Cleveland, where they grew up, and designated University Hospitals and the Cleveland Clinic as the beneficiaries of the bulk of their philanthropy. They pledged $17 million to the Cleveland Clinic in 2007 and another $6 million in 2009. They paid $12 million toward their pledge in 2010. The couple did not place any restrictions on the gift as long as it is directed toward the cancer center.
—Maria Di Mento
26. Violet L. Patton: $41.3 million to Ohio University. Patton, a retired assistant professor of art education at Miami University of Ohio, in Oxford, invested in stock in American Home Products, which later became the pharmaceuticals giant Wyeth. She pledged two gifts totaling $41.3 million to Ohio University, in Athens, last year. She pledged $28 million for the Patton College of Education and Human Services and directed the university to use the money for building renovations and programs for students and faculty. She also pledged $13.3 million for the College of Fine Arts to establish a new arts-education center, which the university has named the Violet L. Patton Center for Arts Education. The center will develop programs to improve arts education in the area's local public schools and to increase the number of local children who graduate from colleges and universities. Payment schedules are not available for either gift commitment. Patton graduated from Ohio University in 1938 with a bachelor's degree in education and went on to teach art in mostly small, impoverished elementary schools, eventually developing and writing an arts-education curriculum that was widely used throughout Ohio. While teaching at a school in Wapakoneta, Ohio, she taught a young student named Neil Armstrong, who would later become the first man to walk on the moon. Patton also wrote textbooks and collaborated with her mother, Gladys Patton, to write a series of etiquette books for children called Little Dot Learns. In 1945 she joined the faculty of Miami University of Ohio, where she taught for the rest of her career.
—Maria Di Mento
27. Lonnie C. Poole Jr. and Carol Johnson Poole—$40.2 million to North Carolina State University. Lonnie Poole founded Waste Industries USA, a waste-collection and disposal company in Raleigh, N.C., in 1970. The Pooles have pledged $40 million to North Carolina State University, in Raleigh, with the majority of the money—$37 million—earmarked for the College of Management, which will be named in Lonnie Poole's honor. The gift will support the development of new programs, faculty research, student scholarships and fellowships, and other college activities. Of the rest of the gift, $2.5 million will go to the Carol Johnson Poole Club House on the Lonnie Poole Golf Course, to which the couple donated $3 million in 2007, and $500,000 will go for an endowed fund in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Lonnie Poole earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the institution in 1959 and is vice chairman of the board of directors at the university's foundation and a member of the university's endowment board. Through his board roles, Poole became increasingly aware that the College of Management, established in 1992, faced trouble attracting financial support. And he knew that government support was likely to dwindle given how much the bad economy had eroded state and federal budgets. The gift is the largest ever received by the university, say the institution's officials. Thus far, the couple has provided $11 million of the pledge, with the rest to be paid over 10 years. The Pooles have also given $75,000 to the WakeMed Foundation—the fund-raising arm of WakeMed Health & Hospitals—for a wing at its children's hospital in Raleigh; $51,000 to the Boy Scouts of America, in Irving, Texas; and $25,000 to St. David's School, in Raleigh. Poole is a member of the Southern Region Board of the Boy Scouts of America and serves on the executive council for both the organization's Occoneechee Council and Central Florida Council.
28. Lin Arison—$39 million to the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. Arison, an author and film producer, is the widow of Ted Arison, the founder of Carnival Cruise Lines, He died in 1999. Lin Arison gave about $39 million to the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, a Miami organization she and her late husband founded in 1981 to identify young, emerging artists and help them at critical points in their careers. She currently serves on its board. Arison has designated that the money be used to establish an endowment for the foundation's YoungArts program. Earnings from the endowment will go toward new arts-education programs for high-school students and teachers. Arison said she was concerned that schools were cutting their arts programs. "Unfortunately, when they're tightening budgets, they see the arts as frivolous," she said. "We have to put arts back into the school system." The money came from proceeds of the sale of two paintings that Arison put up for auction last year. Le Bassin aux Nymphéas by Claude Monet, sold for $22 million; Jeanne Hébuterne (au Chapeau) by Amedeo Modigliani sold for $17 million. Arison is the author of Travels With Van Gogh and the Impressionists: Discovering the Connections, a personal memoir and travelogue in which she also explored the history of the impressionists.—Maria Di Mento
29. Herman Ostrow—$35 million to the University of Southern California. Ostrow, 93, is a retired dentist and founded the Ostrow Property Management, a real-estate-development company in Los Angeles. He gave the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, $35 million to endow its School of Dentistry. He earned his dental degree from the university in 1945 and went on to practice dentistry for 17 years before starting his real-estate business. The university has named the school for him.
—Maria Di Mento
30. Jon L. Stryker—$32.8 million to the Arcus Foundation. Stryker, 52, is an architect and heir to the Stryker Corporation fortune. The medical-products company was founded by his grandfather, Homer Stryker, a surgeon who invented the mobile hospital bed. He gave $30.8 million to the Arcus Foundation, which has offices in Kalamazoo, Mich., and New York. The money will go toward the foundation's two grant-making priorities: ensuring the survival of great apes and their habitats and combating discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Stryker established the foundation in 2000 and serves as its president. Last year the foundation awarded 138 grants totaling more than $16 million to social-justice groups. In addition, Stryker donated nearly $2 million to the Arcus Operating Foundation, which finances Arcus' administrative work. Last October Stryker was honored for his efforts on behalf of primate conservation when scientists named a newly discovered species of monkey after him, the Rhinopithecus strykeri. The foundation has given more than $30 million to primate conservation.
—Maria Di Mento
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