News and analysis
April 04, 2016

Gifts Roundup: $100 Million to Johns Hopkins for Cancer Center

Johns Hopkins University

Vice President Joe Biden with former New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at the announcement of the Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.

A roundup of notable gifts compiled by The Chronicle:

University of California at Santa Barbara

Charles Munger, vice chairman of investment firm Berkshire Hathaway, pledged $200 million for new student housing for undergraduates.

The donor has a history of giving big gifts to build and refurbish university housing. In 2014 he gave the Santa Barbara campus more than $65 million to build a residence hall for visiting physicists. The prior year he donated $110 million to the University of Michigan for a new housing complex for graduate students, and in 2011 he donated $20 million to renovate residences for that institution’s law students.

Mr. Munger has personal ties to both universities. He attended the University of Michigan and his grandson Charles Munger III earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science at UC-Santa Barbara. In a 2013 interview with The Chronicle, Mr. Munger said donors forget that housing affects a student’s educational experience.

The Johns Hopkins University

Two philanthropists known for major donations to Johns Hopkins, Michael Bloomberg and Sidney Kimmel, gave another $50 million apiece to the university to create the Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. Researchers at the new center will focus on new and promising cancer therapies based on harnessing patients’ immune systems to fight the disease.

Mr. Bloomberg is the founder of media company Bloomberg LP and served three terms as mayor of New York City. He has given more than $1 billion to Johns Hopkins since he graduated from the university in 1964.

Mr. Kimmel founded the Jones Apparel Group and gave the university $150 million in 2001 to build the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, among other donations.

Stamford Hospital and other nonprofits

The estates of Kingsley and Kenyon Gillespie donated a total of approximately $100 million to six northeastern nonprofits. Stamford Hospital received the largest amount, about $50 million.

The five other beneficiaries of the charitable trust are the First Presbyterian Church of Stamford, the Long Island Museum of American Art History and Carriages, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Rotary Club of Stamford, and the Setauket Presbyterian Church, which will receive roughly $10 million apiece.

Kingsley Gillespie was the publisher of two Connecticut newspapers, the Stamford Advocate and the Greenwich Time, and he owned a Stamford-area radio station. When he died in 1984, he left his estate to his son, Kenyon, who significantly increased the family’s assets through investments. Kenyon Gillespie died last year.

Both men served on the boards of many of the nonprofits receiving the bequests.

Oklahoma State University

Ross and Billie McKnight donated $25 million to establish an endowment for programming at the university’s planned performing arts center. The new building will be named for the couple.

The McKnights made their fortune in banking, ranching, and oil, and both graduated from the university. Mr. McKnight earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science in 1971 and Ms. McKnight earned a bachelor’s degree in general business in 1973.

Scholastic Reading Club

Best-selling author James Patterson pledged $1.75 million to support the School Library Campaign, a program he started last year as part of an ongoing effort to keep books and reading a priority for children in the United States.

The Scholastic Reading Club will administer grant applications to its network of 62,000 schools and 800,000 teachers and will match each dollar with "Bonus Points," which teachers can use to acquire books and other classroom materials, at each school that receives an award.

This is Mr. Patterson’s second gift toward the program. He has also donated millions of dollars over the years to independent bookstores and to school libraries and literacy programs throughout the country.

To learn about other big donations, see our database of gifts of $1 million or more, which is updated throughout the week.

Send an email to Maria Di Mento.