News and analysis
November 16, 2015

Gifts Roundup: Movie Mogul Gives $100 Million to UCLA

Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images

The producer and film-studio executive David Geffen's $100 million gift to establish a college-preparation academy will support financial aid for low- and middle-income families.

A roundup of notable gifts compiled by The Chronicle:

University of California at Los Angeles

The producer and film-studio executive David Geffen gave $100 million to support the university’s plans for a new academy that will provide college-preparatory education for Los Angeles-area students in grades 6 through 12.

The money will support financial aid for low- and middle-income families and establish a $30-million endowment. The new school will be named the Geffen Academy at UCLA.

Although he is not an alumnus, Mr. Geffen has given the university more than $400 million over the years. His late brother, Mitchell Geffen, a lawyer who died in 2006, graduated from the UCLA School of Law.

The law school also received a donation last week. Kenneth Ziffren, a media and entertainment lawyer, gave $5 million to establish the law school’s Ziffren Center for Media, Entertainment, Technology and Sports Law.

He earned a law degree at the school in 1965 and has been an adjunct professor there since 1998. Mr. Ziffren is co-founder of Ziffren Brittenham, a media and entertainment law firm.

University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Businessman Andy Sabin donated $30 million through the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation to establish two-year, $100,000 research fellowships.

Mr. Sabin is on the cancer center's Board of Visitors.

Institute for Advanced Study

The financier David Rubenstein gave $20 million to the institute for a new building that will house a conference space, meeting rooms, and a lounge with a cafe. The building will be named Rubenstein Commons and will include office space and galleries for exhibits that relate to the institute’s history.

Mr. Rubenstein has served on the institute’s Board of Trustees since 2005. He co-founded the private-equity firm the Carlyle Group.

Ochsner Health System

Tom and Gayle Benson, who own the New Orleans Saints and the Pelicans, professional football and basketball teams, gave $20 million to the health system to expand cancer-care services and advance clinical research at the Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center at Ochsner Medical Center.

Mr. Benson owns auto dealerships in New Orleans and San Antonio, Tex., and formed a banking company, Benson Financial, which he sold in 1996.

University of Central Oklahoma

Chad Richison, founder of Paycom Software, has pledged $10 million to UCO Athletics.

He graduated from the university in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and journalism and served on the university’s wrestling team.

St. John’s College High School

Kevin Plank, the founder of the athletic-apparel company, Under Armour, pledged $16 million through his Cupid Foundation. The money will go toward financial aid and will support athletic, academic, and entrepreneurship programs.

Mr. Plank graduated from the private school in 1990.

University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health

Norman and Gerry Sue Arnold pledged $7 million to establish an institute on aging. The money will be paid out over seven years and support research into age-related areas such as childhood-obesity prevention, chronic stroke recovery, nutrition and food safety, and Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Mr. Arnold is a retired chief executive of the Ben Arnold Beverage Company, which was founded by his grandfather in 1906.

The public-health school was named for the couple in 2000 after they donated $10-million.

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

CORRECTION: An earlier photograph accompanying this article misidentified a man as David Geffen. The photograph has been replaced.

Send an email to Maria Di Mento.