News and analysis
November 28, 2016

Gifts Roundup: $2.5 Million Gifts From Sports Stars Support Smithsonian and Vanderbilt U.

Matt Sayles/Invision for STARZ Entertainment/AP Images

LeBron James (right) and his business partner, Maverick Carter, teamed up on a $2.5 million gift to help fund a Muhammad Ali exhibition at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.

A roundup of notable gifts compiled by The Chronicle:

Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County

Billionaire financier Leon Cooperman and his wife, Toby, gave $10 million to boost the charity’s endowment.

Mr. Cooperman founded Omega Advisors, a hedge fund. Before that, he served as chairman and chief executive of Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

Ms. Cooperman is a retired school administrator, learning specialist, and consultant who worked with neurologically impaired children.

North Carolina State University

Andy and Jane Albright donated $5 million to back entrepreneurship and leadership programs.

Part of the money will be used to establish the Shelton-Albright Entrepreneurial Leadership Youth Program, which will be aimed at high-school students in rural North Carolina who are interested in starting businesses. The gift will also endow the Albright Entrepreneurs Village, a residential campus the couple previously established.

Mr. Albright, a 1986 graduate of N.C. State’s College of Textiles, co-founded the National Agents Alliance, a marketing company that sells life and disability insurance and annuities through a network of independent agents.

Richardson Olmsted Complex

Judith Lipsey pledged $5 million to the Renaissance Campaign fundraising drive for redevelopment of the historic complex, a former psychiatric hospital built in Buffalo, N.Y., in the 1870s.

Half of the money will go toward launching the Buffalo Architecture Center, which will be housed on the site. The other $2.5 million will be used to match gifts from other donors.

The donor is the widow of T. Stanford Lipsey, the longtime publisher of The Buffalo News and an advocate for historic preservation in the city. Mr. Lipsey died in November.

The Shelter for Abused Women and Children

Ralph and Shelly Stayer gave the Naples, Fla., nonprofit $3 million to help pay for a new shelter for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.

The Stayers own the Wisconsin food company Johnsonville Sausage.

The new facility in Immokalee, Fla., will include areas to accommodate the long-term therapeutic needs of victims of human trafficking, a domestic-violence shelter, and a center for outreach.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Basketball superstar LeBron James and his business partner, Maverick Carter, gave $2.5 million to support the new Smithsonian museum’s "Muhammad Ali: A Force for Change" exhibit, which celebrates the boxing champion’s athletic achievements and influence as a political and civil-rights activist.

Mr. James, who earlier this year led the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first National Basketball Association championship, contributed through his family foundation.

Mr. Carter co-founded LRMR, a sports-marketing company, and has collaborated with Mr. James on a number of business ventures.

Vanderbilt University

Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price pledged $2.5 million to help pay for the university’s new baseball center and renovations to the baseball team’s existing clubhouse.

Mr. Price attended Vanderbilt on scholarship and studied sociology there before signing with Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays in 2007. He won the Cy Young Award as the American League’s best pitcher in 2012 and went on to play for the Detroit Tigers and the Toronto Blue Jays before joining the Red Sox before the 2016 season.

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.