Christina Lee Brown Gives $30 Million to New U. of Louisville Health Campus
Christina Lee Brown pledged $30 million to the University of Louisville to create a new campus in downtown Louisville that will be called the Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute—New Vision of Health Campus. The Envirome Institute was created in 2018 with a $5 million gift from Brown and will be part of the new campus. She is also donating, rent free, the use of two historical buildings that are located on the new campus. Plus, MacKenzie Scott donated $122.6 million to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and five other nonprofits landed big gifts.
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A roundup of notable gifts compiled by the Chronicle:
University of Louisville
Christina Lee Brown pledged $30 million to create a new campus in downtown Louisville that will be called the Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute—New Vision of Health Campus. The Envirome Institute was created in 2018 with a $5 million gift from Brown and will be part of the new campus. She is also donating, rent free, the use of two historical buildings that are located on the new campus; they will house offices and laboratories where researchers and others will study how natural, cultural, and personal environments affect human health.
Brown founded two Louisville nonprofits: the Center for Interfaith Relations and an organization that would become the university’s Center for Healthy Air, Water, and Soil. Her late husband, Owsley Brown II, led Brown-Forman, a liquor company that produces the Jack Daniels, Southern Comfort, Old Forester, and Woodford Reserve brands of whiskey. The company was founded in 1870 by George Garvin Brown, Owsley Brown II’s great-grandfather.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
MacKenzie Scott gave $122.6 million to help the national youth-mentoring charity’s national office in Tampa, Fla., and 38 of its 230 chapters throughout the country. The organization plans to use Scott’s gift to expand its mentoring programs to reach more underserved youths and attract volunteer mentors who identify as people of color and LGBTQ+, as well as those in rural areas.
Scott is a novelist and one of the wealthiest women in the world. She helped launch the online retailing behemoth Amazon with her former husband, Jeff Bezos. This gift is the latest Scott has given to large national nonprofits that carry out their missions through local chapters in neighborhoods throughout the country. Scott has given a total of nearly $12.5 billion since 2020 to at least 1,253 nonprofits, many of which aim to help low-income and underserved populations.
Melanie and Richard Lundquist gave $25 million to back new construction and to support academic programs and a financial-aid effort to help students graduate without college debt. The gift completes the college’s campaign to raise $53 million, which it started in October 2019.
The couple are not McPherson alumni. Their relationship with McPherson College began in 2012, when Melanie Lundquist donated tool sets to the school’s Automotive Restoration program in honor of the birthday of her husband, a classic-car collector. Since then, the Lundquists have become regular supporters of the college.
In 2019, they donated $1 million to support the college’s automotive-restoration program, widely believed to be the only four-year bachelor’s degree program for automobile-restoration technology in the United States. Richard Lundquist recently gave the program his Enzo Ferrari 1972 365GTB/4 “Daytona,” a long-nosed two-seater sports car famous for its capability of reaching speeds up to 170 miles per hour.
Richard Lundquist leads Continental Development Corporation, a commercial real-estate and management company in El Segundo, Calif., and Melanie Lundquist is a former speech pathologist. The couple have given extensively to public-school efforts in Los Angeles, as well as to health care organizations, and have appeared on the Chronicle’s annual Philanthropy 50 list of the biggest donors four times.
University of Notre Dame
Douglas and Diana Berthiaume gave $20 million through their Berthiaume Family Foundation to endow the newly established Berthiaume Institute for Precision Health, where researchers will work to develop new tools to understand the variations in humans at the molecular and cellular levels.
Douglas Berthiaume retired in 2015 as president and CEO of the Waters Corporation, a Milford, Mass., company that specializes in precision analytical equipment for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. He graduated from Notre Dame in 1971.
St. George’s School
Dana Schmaltz and Kate Enroth gave $15 million to help the Middleton, R.I., private school increase financial aid; bolster the school’s diversity, equity, and inclusion programs; construct buildings; and renovate a dormitory.
Schmaltz is a lawyer who founded Yellow Wood Partners, a private-equity firm in Boston. He graduated from the school in 1985 and has served on its Board of Trustees since 2011 and as Board chair since July 2021. Enroth is a former assistant district attorney in Manhattan.
City of Hope
Sheri and Les Biller gave $10 million through their Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation to expand cancer research, care for cancer patients, and support the medical center’s integrative cancer-care advocacy program.
Les Biller is CEO of Harborview Capital, a private investment firm he founded after retiring in 2002 as vice chairman and COO of Wells Fargo & Company. Sheri Biller is a former CEO and owner of the Capital Mortgage Company in San Francisco. She served as chairwoman of City of Hope’s Board of Trustees from 2010 to 2013.
Howard University School of Law
Kenneth and Kathryn Chenault gave $2 million to support the Vernon E. Jordan Jr., Esq., Endowed Chair, named for the late lawyer, influential businessman, and civil-rights activist. Jordan was a lifelong friend and mentor to the Chenaults and to many other Black senior executives.
Kenneth Chenault is chairman and managing director of General Catalyst, a venture-capital firm in New York. He served as CEO and chairman of American Express from 2001 until 2018. Kathryn Chenault is a former practicing attorney. The couple are not Howard alumni, but they each have family connections to the historically Black university.
Both of Kenneth Chenault’s parents were Howard alumni. His mother, Anne, graduated from the School of Dental Hygiene, and his father, Hortenius, graduated from the School of Dentistry. Kathryn Chenault’s mother, Elaine Hancock, and her stepfather, Victor Hancock, also were Howard alumni, and her grandfather, Albert Cassell, a noted Black architect, designed several buildings on Howard’s campus, including the historic Founders Library.
Jordan earned a J.D. degree from the law school in 1960. As a lawyer, his firm sued to desegregate the University of Georgia. Later, Jordan worked with the NAACP, Southern Regional Council, Voter Education Project, United Negro College Fund, and National Urban League. He also was an adviser to President Bill Clinton. Jordan died last year at 85.
To learn about other big donations, see our database of gifts of $1 million or more, which is updated regularly.