News and analysis
September 18, 2017

Gifts Roundup: Billionaire Immigrant Gives $5 Million to Help to Harvey Flood Survivors

City of Houston

Vietnamese-American billionaire Kieu Hoang, who gave $5 million for victims of Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, talks to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.

A roundup of notable gifts compiled by The Chronicle:

Boston University

Rajen Kilachand gave $115 million to Boston University to back programs in life sciences and engineering.

Of the total, $15 million will help pay for the newly opened Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering, which has been named for Mr. Kilachand, and $100 million will endow the center’s interdisciplinary research programs.

Mr. Kilachand leads the Dodsal Group, an energy and infrastructure development corporation his family founded. He grew up in India and earned an MBA at the university’s business school in 1974. He is a citizen of the United Arab Emirates.

Iowa State University

Jerry and Debbie Ivy pledged $50 million to the College of Business, which will be named for the donors.

The gift will be used to establish an endowment that will eventually provide roughly $2 million a year for the business school’s programs and needs.

Mr. Ivy is president and chief executive of Auto-Chlor System, an industrial cleaning-solutions company, where Ms. Ivy serves on the company’s executive committee.

Harvard University

Jonathan and Jeannie Lavine committed $12.5 million to back student fellowships at Harvard Business School.

Of the total, $10 million will back the Lavine Family Fellowship Challenge Fund to attract scholarship donations from others; $1 million apiece will endow two fellowships in the business school, and $500,000 will go to the HBS Fund to be used for various programs.

Mr. Lavine is a co-managing partner of Bain Capital, an investment firm, and Ms. Lavine worked for the Boston Consulting Group. The couple earned their MBAs from the school in 1992.

The couple stipulated that, whenever possible, the fellowships should go to students who are the first in their families to attend college.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Joan Gillings donated $12 million to endow the Department of Dramatic Art, and PlayMakers Repertory Company, a professional theater company in residence at the university.

Ms. Gillings is a businesswoman and longtime Chapel Hill philanthropist. The Center for Dramatic Art, the home to the Department of Dramatic Art and PlayMakers, will be named for her.

Her gift will provide scholarships for graduate students studying acting and costume and technical production and will expand PlayMakers’ education and outreach programs and support the development of new plays.

Creighton University

George and Susan Haddix donated $10 million to a variety of programs in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Specifically, the money will go toward renovation of the Rigge Science Building laboratories as well as research, academic advising, and other programs.

Mr. Haddix is a mathematician and technology entrepreneur who has taught at Creighton. He earned a master’s degree from the university in 1966.

Northwestern University

Alec Litowitz and Jennifer Leischner Litowitz gave about $10 million to the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences to create the Litowitz Creative Writing Graduate Program, a joint Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and Master of Arts in English degree program.

Mr. Litowitz founded the hedge fund Magnetar Capital, and the couple own Guildhall Restaurant in Glencoe, Ill. Ms. Leischner Litowitz earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the college in 1991.

Greater Houston Community Foundation

Billionaire Kieu Hoang gave $5 million to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund to provide direct aid to victims of flooding.

Mr. Hoang founded Rare Antibody Antigen Supply and Shanghai RAAS Blood Products, which supplies albumin, immunoglobulin, and other blood-derived products. He also operates the Kieu Hoang Winery.

Mr. Hoang grew up in Vietnam where he served in the U.S. Special Forces as an interpreter during the Vietnam War. He immigrated to the United States after the war and worked his way up at the health-care company Abbott Reference Laboratories before starting his own companies.

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.