News and analysis
April 18, 2016

Gifts Roundup: $15 Million to Tufts and $10 Million for Johns Hopkins

Alonso Nichols, Tufts University

Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch's $15 million gift to Tufts University will support professorships in civic studies, student programs, and more.

A roundup of notable gifts compiled by The Chronicle:

Tufts University

Jonathan Tisch, and his wife, Lizzie, gave $15 million to the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. The gift will endow professorships in civic studies, support research on voting and political engagement among young people, and pay for student programs.

Mr. Tisch is chairman of Loews Hotels. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Tufts in 1976 and gave the university $40 million 10 years ago to endow the college.

Columbia Business School

Jerome Chazen, co-founder of the women’s sportswear company Liz Claiborne, gave $10 million to the Chazen Institute of International Business, which has been renamed the Jerome A. Chazen Institute for Global Business

The money will back new programs, including research fellowships. Mr. Chazen earned an MBA from the university in 1950. He donated money in 1990 to create the Chazen Institute.

The Johns Hopkins University

Siblings Elizabeth Grass Weese and Roger Grass pledged $10 million through their family’s Alexander Grass Foundation to establish the Alexander Grass Humanities Institute. The center will sponsor programming for 10 humanities departments in the university’s Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, other departments in humanistic social sciences, and related programs.

The donors are the children of Alexander Grass, the founder of Rite Aid Corporation. He died in 2009 at 92. Ms. Weese’s daughter, Olivia, is a junior Writing Seminars major at Johns Hopkins, and her son, Jonathan, is a doctoral student in computer science at the university.

College of William & Mary

Ellen Stofan and Timothy Dunn donated $6.3 million for student and faculty projects within the Reves Center for International Studies and the Institute for the Theory & Practice of International Relations.

Some of the money will also support scholarships, geology research, the women’s and men’s soccer programs, environmental sciences, and the William & Mary Law School’s H. Stewart Dunn, Jr. Civil Liberties Project.

The couple are alumni. Ms. Stofan earned a bachelor’s degree in geology in 1983. She is the chief scientist at NASA and a planetary geologist who studies volcanoes around the globe and on other planets. Mr. Dunn earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations in the same year and is a financier who founded Terra Alpha Investments.

Two of the couple’s three children graduated from the university and the couple have served on various William & Mary boards.

Charlotte Community Foundation

Virginia Andes, a retired IBM executive, left $6 million, the bulk of her estate, to create the Virginia B. Andes Healthcare and Scholarship Fund. Ms. Andes died last year at 95.

Most of the money will back operating costs at the Virginia B. Andes Volunteer Community Clinic; pay for college scholarships for students in four-year or graduate-level health-related programs at Florida Gulf Coast University or Florida SouthWestern State College; and support various Charlotte County nonprofits.

Ms. Andes joined IBM Corporation in 1944, first working on the company’s punch-card equipment during World War II and later becoming a senior systems engineer, working on accounting systems that became the precursors of the earliest computing applications in the 1950s and beyond.

United Way of Metropolitan Dallas

Troy Aikman, a former professional football player for the Dallas Cowboys, gave $1 million to start a donor-advised fund, through which he will support programs benefiting people in North Texas.

Mr. Aikman has previously focused on programs for children. In 1996, he helped start Aikman’s End Zone at the Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, an interactive, therapeutic playroom that he later replicated at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth. In 2001, he and county music singer Garth Brooks pitched in to create the Child Life Zone Network, which built playrooms in pediatric hospitals across the country.

He has not revealed what charities he plans to back through his new donor-advised fund, but he told the Dallas Morning News that he is considering giving to programs the aid senior citizens.

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

Note: A previous version of this article said the $10 million gift from the co-founder of Liz Claiborne went to Columbia University instead of the Columbia Business School.

Send an email to Maria Di Mento.