Mary and Richard Compton Give $50 Million to a Santa Barbara Hospital
Mary and Richard Compton pledged $50 million to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Foundation to launch the Compton Center for Medical Excellence and Innovation, where researchers and others will focus on applying the newest clinical, educational, scientific, and digital advances to caring for and treating patients.
Plus, University of Texas at Austin lands $50 million for a new environmental-studies field station, and MacKenzie Scott gives $10 million to a venture-philanthropy nonprofit that backs BIPOC-led businesses that provide jobs, training, and support to people struggling to find employment.
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A roundup of notable gifts compiled by the Chronicle:
Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Foundation
Mary and Richard Compton pledged $50 million to establish the Compton Center for Medical Excellence and Innovation where researchers and others will apply the newest clinical, educational, scientific, and digital advances to caring for and treating patients.
In 2016, the couple gave $15 million to launch the Mary and Richard Compton Endowment Fund to support clinical care, hospital technology, research, and education and leadership programs for nurses and physicians.
Richard Compton co-founded NuSil Technology, a Carpinteria, Calif., company that designs and manufactures medical and space-grade silicone. His path to success was an unusual one: Compton grew up in rural Michigan and attended a one-room schoolhouse. He started his career working as a local farm mechanic and has said in interviews that he never thought much about his future.
That changed when a local farmer named Ann Dorr asked him to meet with her. He assumed she had a tractor or other equipment that needed repairs, but instead she sat him down and encouraged him to think bigger. She offered Compton a loan to attend college, which he accepted, and he went on to start his company in 1979. He served as CEO until he retired in 2015.
University of Texas at Austin
Melinda and Stephen Winn gave $50 million through their Winn Family Foundation to establish the Hill Country Field Station and to support the Texas Field Station Network, both of which provide land for biologists and environmental scientists to research and monitor over time how changes in climate, species, and land-development affect the land, water, and other natural resources.
Stephen Winn founded and leads RealPage, a company that provides software and data analytics to the real-estate industry. He started the company in 1998 and sold it to the private-equity firm Thoma Bravo in 2021 for $10.2 billion. Winn earned a bachelor of science in electrical engineering in 1969 and started out working for his family’s accounting software company, Computer Language Research, eventually becoming CEO.
Chapman University Fowler School of Law
Parker Kennedy gave $15 million. He is directing $10 million to support scholarships and student-recruitment efforts and $1 million to change the existing Parker S. Kennedy Professor of Law to the Parker S. Kennedy Endowed Chair in Law. The use of the remaining $4 million will be announced at a later date.
Kennedy is a former lawyer who served as the chairman and CEO of the First American Corporation from 2003 to 2010, following his father in that post. He joined the company in 1977. He serves as chairman of Chapman’s Board of Trustees. He gave the law school $1 million in 2018 to establish several professorships and a special fund for the
Montana Historical Society
Norm Asbjornson gave $10.4 million to back the construction of a new building to house the Montana Heritage Center, in Helena, Mont. The facility is scheduled to open in 2025. Asbjornson founded AAON, a heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning manufacturer, in Tulsa, Okla. He is a long-time donor to Montana nonprofits and landed on the Chronicle’s annual Philanthropy 50 list of the biggest donors for giving $50 million to his alma mater, Montana State University, in 2014.
MacKenzie Scott gave an unrestricted $10 million gift through her Yield Giving fund. The leaders of the venture-philanthropy nonprofit said in a news release that they plan to use the money to expand the group’s investments in “employment social enterprises,” which are businesses that provide jobs, training, and support to people struggling to find employment.
The group prioritizes investing in Black, Indigenous, and people of color entrepreneurs and leaders who share the lived experience of the people they employ, particularly people who were incarcerated or who have experienced homelessness.
Scott is a novelist who helped found the online retailer Amazon with former husband Jeff Bezos. She has given more than $14 billion to nonprofits over the last three years and appeared on the Chronicle’s 2020 Philanthropy 50 list of the biggest donors.
University of California at San Diego
Geoffrey and Nancy Stack gave $5 million through their Nancy and Geoffrey Stack Foundation to establish the UC San Diego Gene Therapy Initiative, a research program that aims to help children and adults who suffer from a range of genetic conditions, many of which are rare and lack effective treatments.
Geoffrey Stack co-founded and is managing director of the Sares Regis Group, a real-estate development, investment, and management firm in Newport Beach, Calif. He was president of the affiliated residential real-estate company Regis Group from 1977 to 1993. Earlier in his career, he served as an aide to U.S. Sen. Paul Douglas and as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, attaining the rank of captain.
Greater Worcester Community Foundation
Mary Cocaine left $4 million to establish and endow three funds focused on education, economic security for families, and support for the region’s immigrant and refugee populations. The funds will award grants to programs that benefit residents of Worcester, Mass., and the surrounding towns, including Auburn, Grafton, Holden, Leicester, Millbury, Paxton, Shrewsbury, and West Boylston.
Cocaine was born in Worcester. Her father, Theodore Tonna, co-founded Table Talk Pie Company. Cocaine taught in the Worcester Public Schools system early in her career, became a docent at the Worcester Art Museum, and eventually became the head of her family’s baked-goods company. She died in 2021 at 94.
To learn about other big donations, see our database of gifts of $1 million or more, which is updated regularly.