News and analysis
February 08, 2015

No. 48: H.F. Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest

Eileen Barroso/Columbia University

Amount donated in 2014: $49.1-million

Top beneficiary: Lenfest College Scholarship Foundation

Other notable gift: American Revolution Center

Background: Mr. Lenfest founded Lenfest Communications in 1974 and sold the company to Comcast Corporation in 2000.

Philadelphia philanthropists Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest, who are 84 and 81, respectively, pledged $25-million to start the Lenfest College Scholarship Foundation. The gift will continue a program the couple previously operated through their Lenfest Foundation. Mr. Lenfest stepped down from his leadership post at the family’s foundation in 2013, but he said he wanted to continue running the scholarship program, which provides financial aid to students from rural areas of Pennsylvania.

The Lenfests also pledged $10-million to the American Revolution Center, a history museum that is set to open in 2017 and to which the couple had previously given at least $40-million.

They made additional commitments totaling $9.3-million to 10 nonprofits, including Columbia and Temple universities, the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and other education, health, human-service, and public-affairs groups. And they gave a total of nearly $4.8-million to more than 140 other charities in Pennsylvania, New York, and elsewhere.