News and analysis
July 13, 2015

Gifts Roundup: $60 Million to U. of Michigan for Entrepreneurship

Scott Eells, Bloomberg, Getty Images

Sam Zell, chairman and co-founder of Equity International, is a Michigan alumnus.

A roundup of notable gifts compiled by The Chronicle:

University of Michigan

The Zell Family Foundation made a pledge of $60 million to the University of Michigan’s Samuel Zell and Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the business school. The money will go to the institute's endowment, which develops entrepreneurship programs for students and alumni.

The Zell Family Foundation has provided more than $150 million to the university. Along with the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Family Foundation, it established the institute with a $10 million gift, and it created the Zell Entrepreneurship and Law Program at the university’s law school in 2011 and supports the Helen Zell Writers’ Program, a two-year master of fine arts program.

Mr. Zell, chairman of the private investment firm Equity Group Investments, and his wife, Helen, are both Michigan alumni.

Rutgers Law School

James Maida, chief executive of the gaming testing and lottery firm Gaming Laboratories International, and his wife Sharon, gave $1 million to the Rutgers Law School to establish the Maida Public Interest Scholars Program and rename the legal-aid clinic at the school’s Camden location.

The program’s summer fellowships will pay up to 40 students to work for public-interest legal groups in positions that typically are unpaid. The program’s postgraduate fellowship will pay the full-time salary of an alumnus working in the public interest. The first award is going to a graduate working at a housing legal-aid center.

Mr. Maida is an alumnus of the school.

Gifts inspired by events in Charleston

The deaths of nine African-Americans in a racially motivated shooting at Emanuael African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., have inspired several gifts to support efforts to end racism.

Rod Aycox, chief executive of the title-loan business Select Management Resources, and Lamell McMorris, chief executive of consulting firm Perennial Strategy Group, gave $1 million to 10 civil-rights organizations, including $100,000 to the Anti-Defamation League. Other recipients were Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Conference of National Black Churches, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College, the NAACP, the National Action Network, the National Council of La Raza, the National Urban League, and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.

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

Send an e-mail to Rebecca Koenig.