News and analysis
January 25, 2016

Gifts Roundup: $100 Million for Genome Center and $75 Million for Hospital

New York Genome Center

James Simon and Russell Carson have promised to match up to $100 million in donations to the New York Genome Center over the next three years.

A roundup of notable gifts compiled by The Chronicle:

New York Genome Center

James Simons pledged $80 million through his Simons Foundation, and Russell Carson pledged $20 million through the Carson Family Charitable Trust. They are using their grants to help the nonprofit raise money from other donors. The two men promised to match gifts up to a total of $100 million from others over the next three years.

Mr. Simons is a hedge-fund manager and a mathematician, and Mr. Carson co-founded the private-equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe. The two men serve on the center’s Board of Directors and in 2011 helped start the center, a consortium of hospitals, medical schools, research institutions, and others that are working to expand biomedical research and patient care.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

Steven and Alexandra Cohen gave $75 million through their Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation for a new hospital for prenatal and postnatal care.

The hospital will be named for the couple. Mr. Cohen founded the hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors. Although his firm pled guilty to insider trading violations in 2013 and paid a $1.2-billion fine, Mr. Cohen was not charged personally with any wrongdoing.

Villanova University

Charles Widger, the founder of Brinker Capital, gave $25 million to the law school to endow scholarships, a professorship, and academic programs.

The university plans to name the law school for Mr. Widger, who earned a law degree there in 1973.

Harvard University

Robert and Renée Belfer and their son Laurence gave $15 million to the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. The money will establish a new cybersecurity program.

Robert Belfer graduated from Harvard Law School in 1958 and founded Belfer Management, the family’s private-investment firm. He is a former president of Belco Petroleum Corporation, which was started by his late father, Arthur.

Laurence Belfer is chief executive of the family’s investment firm. He graduated from Harvard in 1988.

Tacoma Art Museum

Becky Benaroya gave $14 million and a collection of 225 artworks, including paintings, sculptures, and studio art glass.

The cash portion of the donation will endow the collection and a curator position and pay for a new gallery to show the collection

Ms. Benaroya’s late husband, Jack, was a Seattle commercial real­-estate developer. He died in 2012.

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

David Rubenstein donated $10 million to the new museum and is lending the institution two documents signed by Abraham Lincoln: the Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order made by Mr. Lincoln on January 1, 1863, that freed people being held as slaves, and the 13th Amendment, which officially ended slavery in 1865.

Mr. Lincoln signed 48 copies of the Emancipation Proclamation, but only about half of them still exist.

The donor co-founded the Carlyle Group, a private-equity firm. He serves on the Smithsonian Board of Regents executive committee. Including this most recent gift, he has given the Smithsonian Institution $44.7 million over the years.

University of Connecticut

Philanthropist George Soros gave $2 million through his Open Society Foundations to the university’s Human Rights Institute. Gary and Phyllis Gladstein also gave the institute $2 million. Mr. Gladstein is a senior consultant at Soros Fund Management, Mr. Soros’s investment firm.

The $4 million will be used for endowment and scholarships for undergraduates majoring in human rights. Mr. Soros stipulated that the university must raise an additional $2 million to receive all of his portion.

Mr. Gladstein graduated from the university in 1966 and has been the institute’s main donor in recent years. Mr. Soros said in a news release that his personal experiences spurred him to donate the money.

"I was a child in Hungary when the Nazis invaded. I then lived under Soviet rule, so I know what it is like to live under brutal regimes that deprive people of their basic human rights," he said.

University of Victoria

Jennifer Pritzker, a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, gave $1 million through her Tawani Foundation to create a professorship in transgender studies.

She also pledged to give up to $1 million to match gifts from other donors. The university is in British Columbia, in Canada.

Ms. Pritzker, an investment manager and billionaire heiress to the Pritzker family fortune, came out as transgender in 2014.

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.