August 10, 2015

Gifts Roundup: Facebook Co-Founder Gives $25 Million to Fight Poverty in Africa

GiveDirectly uses mobile technology to transfer cash grants directly to some of the world’s poorest people.
A roundup of notable gifts compiled by The Chronicle:


The Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and his wife, Cari Tuna, a former journalist, donated $25 million to GiveDirectly, a nonprofit that gives cash directly to people living in poverty in Kenya and Uganda.

The money, which was given through the couple’s Good Ventures foundation, will be used for the direct cash transfers and to help the charity hire more fundraising and marketing employees.

Mr. Moskovitz and Ms. Tuna previously gave the nonprofit $5 million in 2013 to match gifts from other donors.

University of Nevada at Las Vegas

Beverly Rogers pledged $20 million through her family’s Rogers Foundation to the university’s Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute for its poetry and fiction programs, and to hire new faculty and graduate assistants.

Ms. Rogers is the widow of James Rogers, a former Nevada System of Higher Education chancellor. He died last year.

Pennsylvania State University

John McWhirter, a retired executive of Union Carbide Agricultural Products Company, and his wife, Jeanette Dachille McWhirter, gave the university $10 million to support the graduate program in the Department of Chemical Engineering.

Both are alumns: Mr. McWhirter earned master’s and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering from the university in 1961 and 1962, respectively; Ms. McWhirter earned a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Penn State’s College of Science in 1969. Mr. McWhirter also served as a professor of chemical engineering there from 1986 to 1999.

Eastern Michigan University

William and Delores Brehm gave $3.3 million to support fellowships and research in the university’s special-education and music-therapy programs. Ms. Brehm is an alumnus, and Mr. Brehm is a co-founder of SRA International, a consulting company. He served as assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs and had other government posts earlier in his career.

Providence College

Kevin O’Kane, a retired professor of computer science who taught at the University of Northern Iowa, pledged $1.3 million to the college for scholarships for students studying computer science, physics, or chemistry.

His father attended the college in the 1920s, and Mr. Kane said in a news release that he made the institution the sole beneficiary of his retirement fund because he was impressed with the college’s Dominican and Roman Catholic mission.

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 Maria Di Mento.