News and analysis
October 09, 2017

Puerto Rican Investor Creates Hurricane Relief Group, and University of Maryland Gets $220 Million

Nancy Warner, Thoma Bravo

Orlando Bravo, managing partner and managing director at Thoma Bravo, committed up to $10 million to establish Podemos Puerto Rico, a new nonprofit to back hurricane relief and recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.

A roundup of notable gifts compiled by The Chronicle

University of Maryland

Alice Clark and her family gave $219.5 million through their A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation to the University of Maryland, for scholarships, new professorships, building projects, and other programs.

Ms. Clark is the widow of A. James Clark, a Washington, D.C.-area engineer and builder who led the Clark Construction Group and Clark Enterprises.

Mr. Clark, who died in 2015, graduated from the university in 1950 with a degree in civil engineering. Mr. and Ms. Clark had previously given the university gifts totaling at least $45 million.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

David Geffen pledged $150 million to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for an ongoing expansion and renovation project.

Mr. Geffen founded Geffen Records and co-founded DreamWorks Studios SKG. The billionaire philanthropist has given hundreds of millions to cultural and education institutions in recent years.

Wake Forest, Queens, and Wingate Universities

Porter Byrum left a total of $140 million to three North Carolina universities. He directed more than $70 million of the total to Wake Forest University, his alma mater.

He stipulated that the remainder be divided equally between Queens and Wingate universities, which will each receive about $35 million.

Mr. Byrum, a North Carolina lawyer and businessman who died in March, instructed the universities to use the money primarily for scholarships.

University of Hawaii

Jay Shidler donated approximately $117 million to the University of Hawaii at Manoa to expand the Shidler College of Business and pay for various programs in the future. The gift includes a cash component and real estate throughout the country.

Mr. Shidler leads the Shidler Group, a real-estate investment company. He graduated from the university in 1968 and had previously given the institution more than $100 million.

University of Chicago

Richard and Amy Wallman gave $75 million for the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, where they met in the 1970s.

Mr. Wallman earned an MBA from Booth in 1974 and served from 1995 to 2003 in executive positions at Honeywell International, an industrial technology and manufacturing company, and its predecessor AlliedSignal. He also worked in senior financial positions with IBM and Chrysler Corporation.

Ms. Amy Wallman earned her MBA from Booth in 1975 and began her career at Ernst and Young, from which she retired as an audit partner in 2001. She was director at Omnicare from 2004 to 2015.


Steve and Connie Ballmer pledged $60 million through the Ballmer Group for the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network program.

The project seeks to reduce racial and socioeconomic disparities in educational success and improve partnerships among school systems, education service groups, and other organizations that provide human services to needy families.

Mr. Ballmer is a former chief executive of Microsoft and owns the Los Angeles Clippers professional basketball team. He and Ms. Ballmer established the Ballmer Group, a grant maker, last year to back nonprofits and others that fight intergenerational poverty.

Podemos Puerto Rico

Orlando Bravo committed up to $10 million to establish Podemos Puerto Rico, a new nonprofit to back hurricane relief and recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.

Mr. Bravo co-founded Thoma Bravo, a technology-focused private equity firm. He was born in the Puerto Rico city of Mayagüez, where his parents still live.

He said in a news release that he was unable to reach them for several days after the storm hit. His nonprofit will support both immediate relief efforts and the ongoing needs of Hurricane Maria survivors.

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.