Panda Express Founders Give $100 Million for a New Cancer Center That Fuses Eastern and Western Practices
Their gift establishes the Cherng Family Center for Integrative Oncology, a program that will bring together Eastern and Western medical and healing practices to treat and care for cancer patients.
City of Hope lands $100 million from Panda Restaurant chain founders Andrew and Peggy Cherng. The money will establish the Cherng Family Center for Integrative Oncology, a program that will bring together Eastern and Western medical and healing practices to treat and care for cancer patients.
Plus, financier Oscar Tang and art historian Agnes Hsu-Tang gave $40 million to New York Philharmonic, MacKenzie Scott gave $15 million for U.S. computer science students from underserved backgrounds, and retired Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton gave $5 million for medical debt forgiveness.
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A roundup of notable gifts compiled by the Chronicle:
City of Hope
Andrew and Peggy Cherng gave $100 million through their Panda Charitable Family Foundation to establish the Cherng Family Center for Integrative Oncology, a program that will bring together Eastern and Western medical and healing practices to treat and care for cancer patients.
The donation will help the cancer research and treatment organization speed up a range of research programs, efforts to develop new treatments, and clinical trials so scientists and physicians can develop evidence-based practices to benefit cancer patients throughout the country.
The Cherngs, whose net worth Forbes estimates at $3 billion, own the Panda Restaurant Group, which operates the Panda Express chain and other dining brands. Andrew Cherng and his father, Ming Tsai Cherng, started the company with one restaurant in Pasadena, Calif., in the 1970s. Peggy Cherng joined the business in the early 1980s and built the growing company’s computer systems, eventually serving with her husband as co-CEO and co-chairman. Earlier in her career, she worked as an engineer for the McDonnell Douglas aircraft company and the Comtal Corporation, a digital-imaging processing company.
University of Virginia
Ramon Breeden Jr. gave $50 million for the McIntire Expansion Project, which includes the construction of a new building for the Commerce School and renovations to other facilities with the school and to support the Virginia Athletics Master Plan, an effort to build a new athletics complex to house a football operations center, an Olympic sports center, and the Center for Citizen Leaders and Sports Ethics.
Breeden is a real-estate developer and a 1956 graduate of the McIntire School of Commerce. He serves as chairman of the board of the Breeden Company, a developer of multifamily and commercial real-estate projects.
He founded the Breeden Company in 1961 after serving in various positions in real estate sales and mortgage financing.
New York Philharmonic
New York financier Oscar Tang and his wife, the archaeologist and art historian Agnes Hsu-Tang, gave $40 million to endow the orchestra’s music programming and to establish the Oscar L. Tang and H.M. Agnes Hsu-Tang Music and Artistic Director Chair.
Longtime supporters of the Philharmonic, the Tangs said in a news release that they decided to give the large donation because they are impressed with the organization’s current leadership team, the progress they’ve seen over the last six years within the organization including its renovated concert hall, and the appointment of the sought-after conductor Gustavo Dudamel to the music and artistic director post.
Oscar Tang co-founded the asset-management firm Reich & Tang in 1970. He also co-founded the Committee of 100, a ChineseAmerican leadership organization that is focused on promoting better relations between the United States and Greater China. He joined the New York Philharmonic Board of Directors in 2013 and has served as co-chairman since 2019.
Agnes Hsu-Tang is a senior research scholar at Columbia University and a distinguished consulting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. She has also served as an adviser to Unesco and to President Obama’s Cultural Property Advisory Committee.
The Tangs have donated extensively to arts and culture groups and to education and appeared on the Chronicle’s Philanthropy 50 list of the biggest donors when they gave $125 million to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2021.
California State University of the Channel Islands
Arlette and Philippe Larraburu left $30 million, the bulk of their estate. University officials said in a news release that they will direct much of the money to construction and related projects, including the building of the university’s Early Childhood Care & Education Center.
Born in Paris, Philippe Larraburu helped his mother survive World War II after losing his father as a teenager. His first job out of college was specializing in the manufacture of precision instruments and lenses for the French armed forces. He later created specialized lenses for the film industry and went on to found an optical lab where he created lenses for industrial applications and weather satellites. Earlier in his career, he worked as an optical engineer for Bausch and Lomb, in in Rochester, N.Y., and for Spectrolab in Sylmar, Calif.
Arlette Larraburu was working as a French translator for the U.S. Corps of Engineers in Germany when the couple met in the 1950s. They emigrated to the United States in the early 1960s and later settled in Ventura, Calif., where they established a connection to the university as annual donors. Arlette passed away in 2014, and Philippe died in 2021.
Richard Schulze gave $25 million through his Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation to support Abbott Northwestern Hospital and its surgical and critical-care services.
Schulze founded Best Buy, a large consumer-electronics retailer. He has given extensively to health care and medical organizations, including a $2 million gift gave in 2015 to expand Abbott Northwesters Hospital’s neurological intensive-care unit.
MacKenzie Scott gave an unrestricted $15 million gift through her Yield Giving fund. CodePath officials said in a news release that the funds will be used to accelerate the organization’s efforts to provide all U.S. computer-science students with the most advanced industry-related coursework, internship experience, and career support, and to provide Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous and other underserved students with technology-industry training, connections, specific hard and soft skills, and an understanding of how to navigate job searches and technical interviews.
Scott is a novelist who has given over $14 billion to more than 1,600 nonprofits over the last three years. Her estimated $37 billion fortune comes from stock she holds in the online retailing giant Amazon, which she helped to found with her former husband Jeff Bezos nearly 30 years ago.
University of Arkansas
Rick Moore left $10 million to endow scholarships and a professorship, and to support faculty-recruitment efforts and other programs in the Ralph E. Martin Department of Chemical Engineering. The scholarships will give preference to students from Arkansas and those who work while they are in college.
Moore was a chemical engineer and scuba instructor. He retired as president of Ford, Bacon & Davis, an engineering and construction company in Baton Rouge, La., and worked earlier in his career for a number of other companies. He also served as the National Association of Underwater Instructors Southwest branch manager for a number of years and a chairman of its Services Group Board of Directors. A University of Arkansas alumnus, he earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1980. He died in August at 66.
RIP Medical Debt
Retired professional baseball player Todd Helton gave $5 million to eliminate more than $10 million worth of medical debt for financially strapped people in Colorado. The charity raises money to acquire and get rid of medical debt for people in financial need. Ryan (Jume) Jumonville is matching Helton’s donation with his own $5 million gift toward the effort.
Helton played first base for the Colorado Rockies, a Major League Baseball team, for 17 years. He retired in 2013. He said in a news release that he was inspired to give the money after hearing about the $100 million gift Jumonville gave to the charity in April to eliminate $100 million of medical debt for people struggling to pay their medical bills in Florida. Jumonville owns the holding company Derbyshire Group and is chairman of United Networks of America, a medical discount-card company.
To learn about other big donations, see our database of gifts of $1 million or more, which is updated regularly.