News and analysis
November 07, 2016

Gifts Roundup: $50 Million Donation Supports Planned Dallas Park

The Trinity Trust Foundation
Annette Simmons (second from left) joins family members, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, and Trinity Trust Foundation leader Deedie Rose (right) to announce a $50 million family donation for a planned Dallas park.

A roundup of notable gifts compiled by The Chronicle:

Trinity Trust

Annette Simmons gave $50 million for design and construction at Trinity River Park, a public green space encompassing more than 285 acres of land that is being built near downtown Dallas.

Ms. Simmons is the widow of Harold Simmons, a Texas billionaire who died in late 2013 and was best known for his expertise in leveraged buyouts. Mr. Simmons built a chain of 100 drugstores that he sold in 1973 to Eckerd Corporation. He later founded Contran Corporation, a holding company.

Wake Forest University

Ben Sutton donated $15 million for a new athletics center, which will be named for the donor.

Mr. Sutton founded ISP Sports, a college-sports marketing company. He graduated from Wake Forest in 1980 and earned a law degree there in 1983. His family has given the university at least $27 million over the years.

Washington University in St. Louis

Jim McKelvey, who co-founded technology companies Square and LaunchCode, gave $15 million for a new building for the university’s engineering school.

The facility will be named for the donor’s father, James McKelvey Sr., who was the dean of the engineering school for 27 years before retiring in 1996. It will house the Department of Computer Science & Engineering when it opens in 2020.

Bates College

Michael Chu, and his wife, Elizabeth Kalperis Chu, donated $10 million for two newly opened residence halls that will be named for them.

Mr. Chu co-founded private-equity firm L Catterton. Ms. Chu worked in finance before leaving to focus on nonprofit board service.

The couple met at Bates and both graduated from the college in 1980. Their son, Christopher, is also an alumnus.

University of Notre Dame

William and Linda Stavropoulos gave $10 million through their family foundation to establish a center specializing in biophysical research in the College of Science.

Mr. Stavropoulos worked for Dow Chemical for nearly 40 years before retiring in 2004. He served as a research chemist and later as chairman and chief executive. He also founded the Michigan Baseball Foundation.

Ms. Stavropoulos is a former schoolteacher who now serves as president of the couple’s foundation. Their two children, Bill and Angela, are Notre Dame graduates

Des Moines Area Community College

Reza Kargarzadeh donated a former Maytag business site valued at $8 million and including seven buildings to expand the college’s Newton, Iowa, campus.

Mr. Kargarzadeh founded Engineered Plastic Components, which manufactures plastic parts for aerospace, agriculture, and other industries.

The new facilities will be used for student housing, academic programs, a business incubator, office space for existing companies, and other projects.

Austin College

Lemuel Scarbrough, a Texas businessman who died in September, left $7 million to the college. Part of the bequest will establish and endow the Lemuel Scarbrough Center for Writing. The remainder has been placed in a fund for future use.

Mr. Scarbrough was a 1958 Austin College graduate and longtime donor who previously endowed scholarship and research programs.

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.