Slate 60: The largest American charitable contributions of the year.

Analysis of the year's biggest philanthropists.
Feb. 6 2011 7:18 PM

Slate 60: Donor Bios

The largest American charitable contributions of the year.

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49. Richard A. and Susan P. Friedman—$20 million to Mount Sinai Medical Center. Richard Friedman is head of Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division, in New York. He and his wife, Susan, pledged $20 million to Mount Sinai Medical Center, in New York, to establish the Friedman Brain Institute. Richard Friedman, who has served on the medical center's board of trustees since 2001, said he and his wife became interested in neuroscience after their son began to study the field in college and worked one summer at the medical center with the neuroscientist Eric J. Nestler, who is now the director of the brain institute. The couple began considering a large donation to the medical center in 2009. "Mount Sinai is in the midst of a major capital campaign, and we wanted to make a leadership gift that would build the brain institute, which is an important component of the medical center's strategic plan," said Richard Friedman. "It was important to us to find an area in which we could really focus our giving." The Friedmans paid $12 million toward the pledge in 2010. He also serves on the board of Brown University, in Providence, R.I., as well as the boards of the Horace Mann School and Central Synagogue, both in New York.

—Maria Di Mento

49. Peter S. and Carolyn A. Lynch—$20 million to Boston College. Peter Lynch, 67, is vice chairman of the Fidelity Management and Research Company, in Boston. He and his wife, Carolyn, 64, pledged $20 million to Boston College for a new leadership academy to train new principals from Catholic, public, and charter schools. The academy will award 25 fellowships a year to leaders of Boston area schools. A time frame for the Lynches' plan to pay off their pledge was unavailable. Peter Lynch graduated from Boston College in 1965 with a bachelor's degree in finance. The couple gave $10 million to the college in 1999 for its School of Education, which is named for them.

—Maria Di Mento

49. Patrick E. and Barbara A. Roche—$20 million to Boston College. Patrick Roche, 81, is the co-founder and retired chairman of Roche Bros. supermarkets chain, in Wellesley, Mass. He and his wife, Barbara, 82, pledged $20 million to Boston College to endow its Center for Catholic Education, which trains undergraduate and graduate students to administer and teach in Catholic schools and universities nationwide and conducts research on Catholic institutions. The center will be named after the donors. Patrick Roche grew up in the Roslindale neighborhood of Boston and graduated from Boston College in 1951 with a bachelor's degree in accounting. He said in a written statement that Catholic education held personal significance in his life. "Our mother died when my brothers and I were young kids, ages 6-12, and our faith and Catholic education helped with our upbringing," he said. "Catholic education was a great gift in my life. When Barbara and I saw the number of Catholic schools that were closing, we wanted to help, and [Boston College] gave us an opportunity to do so." The college did not disclose a payment schedule for the gift.

—Caroline Bermudez

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49. Albert P. (Skip) Viragh—$20 million to the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins. Viragh, who died in 2003 at age 62, founded the Rydex SGI, a mutual-fund company in Rockville, Md. He bequeathed $20 million to the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, in Baltimore, to establish a center for pancreatic-cancer research and patient care. The research center will be named for him. The donor was a patient at the cancer center and died from the disease. He made smaller donations to the medical institution before his death, according to executors of his estate. Viragh ranked No. 32 on the 2009 Slate 60 for a $28 million bequest he left that year to Chaminade College Preparatory School, in St. Louis, and while his executors would not disclose how much more in bequests they intend to award, they confirmed they plan to give away more in the coming years.

—Maria Di Mento

49. George A. Weiss—$20 million to the University of Pennsylvania. Weiss, 67, is president of George Weiss Associates, a money-management firm in New York. He is also chief executive officer of Weiss Multi-Strategy Advisers. Weiss, 67, pledged $20 million to the University of Pennsylvania to endow four professorships for faculty members who hold joint appointments from two schools. He earned a bachelor's degree in economics in 1965 from the university and has two daughters who graduated from the institution. He has been a trustee of the university since 1988 and is currently chair of its $3.5 billion fundraising campaign, which concludes in 2012. "By providing faculty support for the best teachers and scholars with an interdisciplinary focus, we can tackle the complex problems of our times and prepare Penn students to become leaders," said Weiss in a written statement about his gift. The college did not disclose a payment schedule for the donation. Weiss is a regent of Trinity College, in Hartford, Conn.; a member of the board of directors at the Metropolitan Opera, in New York; and chairman of the board of directors at Say Yes to Education, a charity he founded in 1987 that helps low-income youths gain access to postsecondary education.

—Caroline Bermudez

55. Louis and Peaches Owen—$18 million to the Trinity Mother Frances Foundation. Louis Owen is a retired chemical engineer who worked in the petroleum-refining industry for 40 years. The couple, who lives in Tyler, Texas, pledged $18 million to the Trinity Mother Frances Foundation, the fundraising arm of Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics, in Tyler, to construct a hospital devoted to treating heart diseases. In a written statement, Peaches Owen said, "We never have really wanted to have it advertised that we're doing these things, but if we come out and say we are doing this, maybe it will spur philanthropy in others. We're all in this together, and we're going to have to help each other." The foundation did not disclose a payment schedule for the gift.

—Caroline Bermudez

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55. Elizabeth J.M. Prince and Family—$18 million to Rhode Island Hospital and Newport Hospital. Prince is the heiress and great-granddaughter of Frederick Henry Prince, a Boston financier who owned two railroads as well as the Union Stock Yard & Transit Co. and Armour & Co., the meatpacking company, both in Chicago. Prince, along with her sons, Regis de Ramel, of Avondale, Pa., and Guillaume de Ramel, of Newport, R.I., and her daughter, Diana Oehrli, of Gstaad, Switzerland, gave $15 million to Rhode Island Hospital, in Providence, to develop and support the Norman Prince Neurosciences Institute, which will combine clinical and research efforts in neurosurgery, neurology, and psychiatry. The hospital says it is the biggest gift it has ever received. The focus on brain trauma is a response to a family tragedy: Norman Prince, a son of Frederick Henry Prince, was a member of a squadron of volunteers who had planned to fight for France in World War I. In 1916 his plane crashed, severely damaging his brain. He died three days later. Under the terms of her great-grandfather's will, Prince, who lives in Newport, and her family had the responsibility to identify hospitals in Rhode Island. Her great-grandmother, Abigail, was born in Newport, and her great-grandparents were summer residents of the town. The donors have provided approximately $10 million so far to Rhode Island Hospital, with the remainder to be given over the next five years. In an e-mail, Prince said that her great-grandfather would have been pleased by the donation. She wrote: "Being an entrepreneur and developer who thought big, we believed that he would have been enthusiastic about the creation of a neurosciences institute that harbors the three neurosciences so that the work of research and care of patients can be accomplished collaboratively. Also, he would have appreciated the consequential economic impact that this center will have on the city and the state." The family also gave $3 million to Newport Hospital, in Rhode Island, to combat drug and alcohol use, to promote the emotional and psychological well-being of youths and families in Newport County, and to run athletic programs and other events to promote health.— Caroline Bermudez

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57. Betty Knoebel—$17.6 million to the University of Denver. Knoebel, 79, is the widow of Ferdinand Knoebel, who founded the Knoebel Mercantile Company, a bakery distributor in Denver, in 1929. Known as Nobel Inc., the organization was bought by Sysco as a subsidiary in 1982. Mr. Knoebel served as chairman of Nobel/Sysco Food Services Company until he retired in 1999 at the age of 90. He died in 2005. Of the $17.6 million pledged by Betty Knoebel, $12.1 million has already been paid to the University of Denver. The gift came in the form of cash, stock, and a 996-acre mountain ranch west of Denver. Knoebel earmarked $10 million to support research at the university's Center for the Study of Aging, as well as to add faculty members to teach molecular life sciences and bioengineering. She also said that the university's School of Hospitality Management should receive $7.5 million for faculty support, student scholarships, industry partnerships, and experiential learning programs. The remainder will go to the university's operating costs. Ferdinand Knoebel was a native of Denver and did not attend college. The Knoebels have been longtime donors to the University of Denver; their first gift, in the mid-1980s, endowed a scholarship for low-income students from the Denver metropolitan area.—Caroline Bermudez

58. Arthur B. and Nancy Calcagnini—$17 million to Georgetown University. Arthur Calcagnini is the retired chairman and chief executive officer of Lombard and Company, a commodities trading firm in New York, and Nancy Calcagnini is the former managing director of Credit Suisse First Boston, in New York. They pledged $17 million to Georgetown University for a new spiritual retreat and contemplative center in Bluemont, Va. They have already paid $7.8 million of the gift and plan to pay the rest over a period of more than five years. The Calcagninis previously donated $1.5 million to Georgetown for a nondenominational retreat program in 1992 and have supported chaplaincies, medical research, student scholarships, and other university activities and programs. Arthur Calcagnini graduated from Georgetown in 1954 with a bachelor's degree in economics. In a news release, Arthur Calcagnini said of the couple's gift: "I can't think of a more important investment than to provide young people with the opportunity for quiet introspection and a chance to ask questions of themselves. This center will provide the potential to enrich every student for a lifetime. It is an important part of achieving the Jesuit philosophy of educating the whole person."

—Caroline Bermudez

59. B. Thomas Golisano—$16.2 million to Unity Health System and Golisano Children's Museum of Naples. Thomas Golisano, 69, is the founder and chairman of Paychex, a company in Rochester, N.Y., that provides businesses with benefits, human-resources, and payroll services. He pledged $10 million to Unity Health System to establish the Restorative Neurology & Rehabilitation Center, which will serve children and adults who have neurological conditions. Mr. Golisano has paid nearly $6.7 million so far and plans to pay the rest over the next five years. He also donated $5 million to the Golisano Children's Museum of Naples, Fla.; $1 million to the Clinton Global Initiative, in New York; and $150,000 to Special Olympics International, in Washington.Golisano is a trustee of the Rochester Institute of Technology and has his own foundation, which is focused on helping disabled people. No new money went to the foundation in 2010.

—Caroline Bermudez

60. C. Michael and Anne Gossett Armstrong—$16 million to Miami University and the C. Michael Armstrong Family Foundation. Michael Armstrong is the retired chairman of Comcast Corporation, the cable-television and Internet service provider, in Philadelphia, and a former chairman and chief executive of AT&T. Armstrong and his wife, Anne, pledged $15 million to Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio, to construct a new student center. The Armstrongs both received bachelor's degrees from the university in 1961, Michael Armstrong's in business and economics and Anne Gossett Armstrong's in education. Neither the university nor the donors disclosed the payment schedule for the gift. In 2008 the Armstrongs gave $14.7 million to the university to establish the Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies. The couple also gave $1 million last year to their C. Michael Armstrong Family Foundation, in Naples, Fla., where they live. The fund finances colleges, research, and efforts to help needy children.

—Caroline Bermudez

60. Robert M. and Dorothy C. Wopat—$16 million to the Marion Community Foundation. Ropert Wopat was the former president of the telecommunications company GTE's Ohio Division, in Marion, Ohio. The company was sold to Verizon in 2000. Wopat, who died in 2008 at age 92, and his wife, Dorothy, who died in 2009 at age 94, bequeathed $16 million to the Marion Community Foundation. Their donation was the result of a long relationship the couple had with the organization that eventually became the community foundation. Robert Wopat was the former board chairman of the MedCenter Hospital and served on the board from 1965 until 1998, when the hospital was sold. The hospital's foundation changed its name to the Marion Community Foundation, broadening the group's mission beyond health care to focus on a range of local needs. The gift is the largest the foundation has ever received, according to the organization's president, Bradley Bebout, and will double its endowment. Sixty percent of the bequest, $9.6 million, will create a donor-advised fund; the remainder will be evenly split between a scholarship fund for high-school seniors and college students and for the Marion Family YMCA.

—Caroline Bermudez

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