News and analysis
July 17, 2017

Gifts Roundup: $50 Million Pledge Backs Teacher Training in Texas

Laura Skelding

Charles Butt, who has committed $150 million this year to train teachers and school administrators in Texas, gets a hand at the 2017 H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards sponsored by the supermarket company he heads.

A roundup of notable gifts compiled by The Chronicle:

Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation

Grocery billionaire Charles Butt pledged $50 million to create Raising Texas Teachers, a program that will provide financial aid for college students in the state who plan to become teachers as well as money for teacher-training programs.

Mr. Butt heads the family-owned supermarket chain H-E-B and is a prolific donor to education groups. He founded Raise Your Hand Texas, an education advocacy and incubator organization, in 2006, and six months ago he committed $100 million to start the Holdsworth Center, a leadership institute focused on training public-school administrators.

Gustavus Adolphus College

An anonymous alumni coupled committed $40 million for scholarships and renovations to the St. Peter, Minn., campus’s Nobel Hall of Science, which houses laboratories and classrooms.

The donors are also directing some of the money toward the college’s endowment.

New York Public Library

Jim and Marilyn Simons gave $25 million for renovations to three East Harlem branches of the library, and for education programs, immigrant services, technology training, and early-literacy efforts.

Mr. Simons is a mathematician who founded Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund.

Orange Coast College Foundation

Mary McChesney donated $1 million for a Foucault pendulum — a device that demonstrates the rotation of the Earth — for the college’s new planetarium, which is scheduled to be completed next year.

Ms. McChesney is a retired Spanish professor who joined the college’s faculty in 1950.

Pennsylvania State University at Harrisburg

Jane Filby Leipold pledged $1 million for scholarships and student services.

Ms. Leipold is a retired senior vice president of global human resources at TE Connectivity, a technology company.

She earned two degrees from the university, a bachelor’s in quantitative business analysis in 1982 and an M.B.A. in 1988.

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.