The Slate60

The 1999 Slate 60: The 60 largest American charitable contributions of 1999.

9. STEVEN FERENCZ UDVAR-HAZY$60 million to the SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION (Washington, D.C.)—the museum’s largest gift ever. Udvar-Hazy says he thought only five minutes before donating the money to help build a giant annex for the National Air and Space Museum. The $173 million complex will house nearly 200 historic airplanes and spacecraft at a facility in suburban Virginia. When the annex opens in 2003, visitors will see the 69,000-pound B-29 Enola Gay that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan; the space shuttle Enterprise; and the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird spy plane, which is more than 107 feet long. Udvar-Hazy is president of International Lease Finance Corp., a leading commercial aircraft owner and lessor, which has a portfolio of 400-plus jet aircraft valued at more than $18 billion.

11. PETER B. LEWISa total of $59.8 million: $55 million to PRINCETON UNIVERSITY (N.J.), of which $35 million will be used for the Institute for Integrative Genomics, from this 1955 graduate and trustee who is chairman and CEO of Progressive Corp., an auto insurance company based in Cleveland. Also, $4.8 million to CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY (Ohio) to construct the new campus of the Weatherhead School of Management. The gift augments previous pledges from Lewis to the school totaling $24 million.

12. JOSEPHINE CLAY FORD, RICHARD A. MANOOGIAN, and A. ALFRED TAUBMAN$50 million to the DETROIT INSTITUTE OF ARTS to expand and improve the museum and build the institution’s endowment. The contribution commences a $320 million fund-raising effort over a 10-year period to expand and repair the museum. Ford is a granddaughter of automotive pioneer Henry Ford; Manoogian is chairman of Masco Corp. in Taylor, Mich., and president of the museum’s board of directors; Taubman is chairman of the Taubman Cos. in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., a real-estate concern, and a former chairman of Sotheby’s, the art auction house. (Also see Taubman’s gift to the University of Michigan below.) “I remember coming down to the DIA in a school bus and just being amazed by all the various collections,” said Manoogian, whose company makes home-improvement and building products.

12. W. JEROME FRAUTSCHI—a second $50 million pledge to the CITY OF MADISON, Wis., for a downtown arts center. Frautschi made the second contribution to accelerate construction of the privately funded center, the city’s Capital Times reported. The gift is one of the largest individual donations for an arts project in the United States. Plans call for a new multipurpose theater, a renovated Oscar Mayer Theater, an expanded Madison Art Center, and the creation of three small- to midsize performance spaces. Frautschi recently retired as vice chairman of Webcrafters Inc., a Madison-based printing company.

12. THOMAS MONAGHAN$50 million to the AVE MARIA SCHOOL OF LAW, a Roman Catholic law school that the Domino’s Pizza founder is creating. The Ave Maria School of Law will open in temporary quarters next year in Ann Arbor, Mich. Retired federal judge Robert Bork will be on the faculty, and Bernard Dobranski, currently dean of the Catholic University School of Law in Washington, has been named dean, the Associated Press reported. “I think it will be the West Point for Catholic laity in the years to come,” Monaghan said. The 61-year-old Michigan native started Domino’s in 1960. He sold most of his interest in the company to the Boston-based investment firm Bain Capital last year for an estimated $1 billion. He previously owned the Detroit Tigers baseball team. He is chairman of the Ave Maria Foundation and has supported Catholic preschools, elementary schools, and academies. He founded the Ave Maria Institute, a liberal arts college in Ypsilanti, Mich., last year.

12. ELMER E. RASMUSON$50 million to the ANCHORAGE MUSEUM OF HISTORY AND ART from the former president and chairman of the National Bank of Alaska. The gift was announced at Rasmuson’s 90th birthday party. Thirty-one years ago, as the mayor of Anchorage, Rasmuson was instrumental in getting the museum off the drawing board. He also gave $40 million to his family’s foundation, which was established in 1957 by his mother, Jenny. The donation increases the foundation’s assets fivefold. By law, the foundation must distribute 5 percent of its assets every year. The total of the gifts is believed to be the largest single donation by an individual in the history of Alaska.

12. HENRY and SUSAN SAMUELIa total of $50 million: $30 million to UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT LOS ANGELES, its second-largest gift, and $20 million to the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT IRVINE, its largest cash gift. Samueli is co-founder of Broadcom Corp., a communications chip maker based in Irvine which he started while on leave from his work as a professor. “It’s payback time,” he said. “UCLA has been very understanding about my starting a company. I hope to help promote the next guy who is going to start a Broadcom.”

17. JEFF SKOLLa total of $47.5 million: $40 million to the COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF SILICON VALLEY to create a new fund from the vice president of eBay. Also, $7.5 million to his alma mater—the UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO—to finance a program that will let students simultaneously take a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master’s in business administration. Of that amount, $4.5 million will be used to create two permanent chairs at the faculty of applied science in engineering and one chair at the Joseph Rotman School of Management. The remaining $3 million will help finance construction of a new information technology facility that will house the expanded engineering and computer sciences programs, as well as the new engineering-MBA program.

18. ALICE and LEONARD SAMUEL SKAGGS JR.$42 million to the CATHOLIC ARCHDIOCESE OF SALT LAKE CITY, possibly the largest gift ever in support of a Roman Catholic primary and secondary school. The plans for the school complex include a 57-acre campus with 75 classrooms, three gymnasiums, a 1,350-seat auditorium, two libraries, five baseball fields, football and soccer stadiums, and a 1.5-mile cross-country trail. The buildings will be wired with 14 miles of fiber-optic cable for computer and telecommunications systems. The school was designed in the monastic cloister tradition, with a center courtyard containing a 99-foot tower, grotto, and reflecting pool. Leonard Skaggs is the retired chairman of the American Stores Co. a Salt Lake City-based drug and grocery chain founded by his father and his Baptist minister grandfather. In 1996 the Skaggs family gave $100 million to San Diego’s Scripps Research Institute. 

Photographs of: Thomas Monaghan courtesy of Ave Maria Foundation; Henry Samueli courtesy of Broadcom Corp.