The 1999 Slate 60: The 60 largest American charitable contributions of 1999.

The 1999 Slate 60: The 60 largest American charitable contributions of 1999.

Analysis of the year's biggest philanthropists.
Feb. 16 2000 11:34 PM

The 1999 Slate 60: The 60 largest American charitable contributions of 1999.

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Myrtle Katzen, American University President Benjamin Ladner, and Cyrus Katzen

47. CYRUS and MYRTLE KATZENa total of $15 million: $10 million to AMERICAN UNIVERSITY (Washington, D.C.) to construct a new arts center and an accompanying gift of art works—which includes pieces by Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, and Andy Warhol—valued at $5 million. Cyrus Katzen has had successful careers in real-estate development, banking, and dentistry in the Washington area. He organized two banking institutions that are now part of First Union Bank. His dentistry career spanned 25 years.

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47. KIRK KERKORIAN$15 million to the AMERICAN RED CROSS for earthquake reconstruction and relief efforts in Armenia. Kerkorian, who is of Armenian descent, is the majority stockholder of MGM-UA Communications and also owns a substantial portion of DaimlerChrysler. In 1998 he made a $200 million pledge to benefit the people of Armenia.

47. DANIEL KOSHLAND$15 million to HAVERFORD COLLEGE (Pa.) for a new science facility. Koshland is a biochemist. The complex will be named after Koshland's late wife, Marian, an immunologist.

47. JUDSON H. KROEZE$15 million to the UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI to finance programs in liberal arts and to endow the Department of Microbiology. The donor is the grandson of Judson Holman, a founder of the grocery chain Jitney-Jungle Stores of America. "Through my work with Jitney Jungle, I saw that Ole Miss turns out the leadership of this state," Kroeze said. "I've always been very grateful to the Lord and to all the Mississippians who made Jitney Jungle successful. Therefore, I wanted my resources to have a perpetuating effect. For me, the choice was Ole Miss, where this gift will generate new and additional benefits for young people."

47. ELKIN B., DONNA, and KERRY McCALLUM$15 million to BENTLEY COLLEGE (Mass.) The gift will be used to support Bentley's integration of information technology with business education. Bentley will rename its graduate school of business for Elkin McCallum. "My education at Bentley provided a terrific foundation in business," Elkin McCallum said. He is chairman and CEO of Joan Fabrics Corp. in Lowell, Mass. The $15 million is one of the largest contributions ever from a single donor or family to a New England business school, according to the college, located in Waltham. The McCallum family had previously contributed $1.25 million. Of the decision to make a much larger gift, McCallum said, "It seemed to be the right time, because it coincided nicely with where the school is headed today."

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47. CRAIG and SUSAN McCAWa total of $15 million from the family foundation: $7.5 million to the Nelson Mandela Foundation and $7.5 million to the Foundation for Community Development. Both organizations are working to bring health care, education, economic development, and peace to the African continent.  Craig McCaw serves as chairman of Ocean Futures Society, which is focused on raising the world's awareness of issues relating to the health of the oceans. He is the founder of McCaw Cellular, which was sold to AT&T in 1994 for $11.5 billion. He is now chairman of Teledesic.

47. STANFORD N. PHELPS$15 million to PHILLIPS EXETER ACADEMY (N.H.) for a science center from the chairman of Commonwealth Oil Refining. The gift is the single largest gift ever made to a high-school science facility, according to the school. "Science and technology are changing the world, and a new science center is right where Exeter should be," Phelps said. He is a 1952 graduate of the school.

47. CLARICE SMITH$15 million in operating funds to the UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND AT COLLEGE PARK for its performing arts center from this artist and art collector. It equals the amount donated a year ago by her husband, Crystal City, Va., developer Robert H. Smith, for the business school that now bears his name. The family's donations to the school now exceed $30 million, making them the largest donors ever to a Maryland public university. Clarice Smith attended the University of Maryland for two years in the early 1950s. She left to raise a family and later studied at the Corcoran College of Art and Design; received degrees from George Washington University, where she also taught; and became a renowned painter of portraits, landscapes, and equestrian subjects.

47. GEORGE SOROS$15 million to create a new initiative called MEDICINE AS A PROFESSION aimed at fighting "the corrupting influence of money in medicine." The billionaire investor-activist told a group of doctors at Columbia University, "There is unanimity among doctors, deans, historians, and health economists that money has never been so much in the forefront of medicine or potentially so powerful in determining medical decisions."

47. H. STEPHEN STEHANE$15 million to BETHANY COLLEGE (W.Va.) to construct an academic center that will be named in memory of his father, Howard Stehane. The donor, an engineer in Columbus, Ga., is chairman of Consolidated Fusion Technologies.

47. ELTON B. and JAMES T. STEPHENS$15 million to BIRMINGHAM-SOUTHERN COLLEGE (Ala.): a $10 million gift toward a new science facility and $5 million in matching funds. Elton Stephens is a Birmingham-Southern alumnus and a life member of the board of trustees. His son James serves as trustee chairman of the academic affairs committee of the board of trustees. "Birmingham-Southern's commitment to the liberal arts college education, its excellence with undergraduate science teaching, and our confidence in education for society's betterment make this gift a reward in the giving," said the younger Stephens.

47. KEMMONS WILSON$15 million to the UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS (Tenn.) to start the state's first program in hotel and restaurant management from the founder of Holiday Inn. The gift will pay for a four-story building on university property that will include classrooms, banquet facilities for up to 800 people, and a working 80-room hotel. "There comes a time in everyone's life when you begin to think of your legacy. When you're as old as I am, you have a lot of time to think," said Wilson, 86. Wilson, a high-school dropout, opened the first Holiday Inn in Memphis in 1952 and went on with longtime business partner Wallace Johnson to build the hotel chain.  

Photograph of Myrtle Katzen, American University President Benjamin Ladner, and Cyrus Katzen courtesy of American University.