The Slate60

The 2000 Slate 60: The 60 largest American charitable contributions of 2000

1. WILLIAM H. (BILL) GATES III and MELINDA GATES$5 billion to the BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION. Mr. Gates, 45, co-founder of the Microsoft Corp., in Redmond, Wash., and Mrs. Gates, 34, last year raised the endowment of the nation’s largest private foundation to approximately $21 billion. The foundation gave away $995 million in 2000 for programs focused on global health, education, libraries, and public access to technology.

2. ELI and EDYTHE BROAD$137.5 million to four organizations. Mr. Broad, 67, a longtime residential developer and chairman of SunAmerica, a financial-services company in Los Angeles, and his wife, 64, gave $67 million to the BROAD FOUNDATION, in Los Angeles, which they established in 1999 to support programs that improve urban schools. The foundation made grants of more than $12.5 million in 2000. The Broads also gave $28 million to the Broad Art Foundation, in Santa Monica, Calif., which lends the 650 pieces in its contemporary-art collection to museums and galleries around the world. Mr. and Mrs. Broad gave $21 million to the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT LOS ANGELES to help build the Broad Art Center at the School of the Arts and Architecture, and $19.5 million to the CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY to help build the Broad Center for Biological Sciences. In addition, the couple gave $2 million to help build the WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL at the Los Angeles Performing Arts Center.

3. JON M. HUNTSMAN$125 million to the UNIVERSITY OF UTAH. Mr. Huntsman, 63, the founder of the Huntsman Corp., a privately held chemical company in Salt Lake City, survived two bouts with cancer. He made his donation to expand research and treatment programs at the university’s Huntsman Cancer Institute, which he founded in 1995. Of the total, he earmarked $100 million for research and to help build a research hospital to treat cancer patients. The remaining $25 million will support joint cancer-care programs with Intermountain Health Care, a nonprofit health-care organization in Salt Lake City.

*4. ELMER RASMUSON$113.4 million to ANCHORAGE MUSEUM OF HISTORY AND ART, RASMUSON FOUNDATION, UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA, and ALASKA PACIFIC UNIVERSITY. Mr. Rasmuson was the retired chairman of the National Bank of Alaska, which was sold to Wells Fargo in 1999, and a former mayor of Anchorage. Last year he donated or bequeathed Wells Fargo stock to four Alaska institutions. He donated $50.4 million to help expand the Anchorage Museum building, which has been renamed Rasmuson Center, and $39 million to the Rasmuson Foundation, in Anchorage. Mr. Rasmuson’s $19 million bequest to the University of Alaska will support the Rasmuson Library, the Rasmuson Fisheries Institute, and the University of Alaska Museum, at the Fairbanks campus, and the department of economics, in Anchorage. He also left $5 million to Alaska Pacific University, in Anchorage, for unrestricted use. He died in 2000 at age 91.

5. DORA DONNER IDE—$111 million to 29 NONPROFIT GROUPS. Mrs. Ide was the daughter of William H. Donner, who founded the Donner Steel Co. in Buffalo, N.Y. Earmarking her entire bequest for endowments, she made her largest single gift—$11 million—to the San Francisco Foundation. Of the 28 other recipients of Mrs. Ide’s largesse, 14 are also in the San Francisco Bay Area. KQED, a San Francisco public-broadcasting station, received $8 million, the biggest gift in its 46-year history. Other recipients include the California Academy of Sciences, in San Francisco; the California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena; the Chinese Hospital Association, in San Francisco; Guide Dogs for the Blind, in San Rafael, Calif.; Hanover College, in Hanover, Ind.; the Nature Conservancy, in Arlington, Va.; On Lok Senior Health Services, in San Francisco; the San Francisco Ballet; the San Francisco Boys and Girls Club; the San Francisco Public Library; the San Francisco Zoo; the St. Anthony Foundation, in San Francisco; and the University of California at San Francisco. Mrs. Ide died in 1998 at age 82.

6. JAMES L. and SALLY BARKSDALE$100 million to the UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI. The Barksdales, alumni of the university, are using their gift to create the Barksdale Reading Institute, a literacy program for Mississippi children that will be developed by the university’s School of Education in partnership with the Mississippi Department of Education and the schools of education at the seven other public universities in Mississippi. Mr. Barksdale, 57, who had trouble learning to read, is a partner in the Barksdale Group, an investment company in Menlo Park, Calif. He served as chief executive officer of Netscape, in Mountain View, Calif., until the Internet software provider was acquired by America Online in 1999.

7. KENNETH E. BEHRING—a total of $89.5 million to the NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN HISTORY and the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT BERKELEY. Mr. Behring, 72, founder of the Blackhawk Corp., a real-estate development company, and former owner of the Seattle Seahawks, gave $80 million to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, in Washington, D.C. The museum building has been named the Behring Center. Mr. Behring’s gift follows his $20 million donation, in 1997, to the National Museum of Natural History. Last year, Mr. Behring also gave $7.5 million to expand the Principal Leadership Institute, a training center for educators, at the University of California at Berkeley. His gift will establish the Behring Institute for Educational Improvement, which will train approximately 750 new public-school principals over the next 10 years. Mr. Behring also contributed $2 million to Wheelchairs for the World, a charity he founded to assist disabled people worldwide.

8. JEAN JESSOP HERVEY$80 million to the SAN DIEGO FOUNDATION. Mrs. Hervey created her fund at the San Diego Foundation. Her husband, James Edgar Hervey, was a lawyer and original investor in Price Club, a chain of retail stores bought by Costco Wholesale Corp. in 1993. He died in 1996 at age 69. The couple’s five children, who will determine how the money is given away, made their first grant—of $5 million—to help build a new library in the Point Loma section of San Diego. Mrs. Hervey died in 1999 at age 72.

9. CHARLES T. (TED) BAUER—a total gift of $65 million to the UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON and HARVARD UNIVERSITY. Mr. Bauer, 81, a co-founder of AIM Management Group, an investment company in Houston, gave $40 million to the University of Houston to finance professorships, faculty fellowships, technology, and miscellaneous programs at the college of business, which will be renamed for him. Mr. Bauer also gave $25 million to Harvard University to endow the Bauer Life Sciences Building, which will house the Bauer Center for Genomics Research.

9. FRANK H. and WYNETTE LEVINSON$65 million to the CELERITY FOUNDATION. Mr. Levinson founded the Finisar Corp., a fiber-optic communications company in Sunnyvale, Calif. The couple established the Celerity Foundation, a supporting organization at the Peninsula Community Foundation, in San Mateo, Calif., to finance programs in religion, science, education, the environment, technology, and other fields. 

*Three days after “The Slate 60” was posted, we learned of the Rasmuson gift, which had previously escaped our dragnet. The late inclusion of Rasmuson required us to renumber The Slate 60 list. In the process, Richard and Lucile Durrell ($13.2 million) were bumped off the list, and the threshold for making The Slate 60 increased to $15 million.

Photographs of: Edythe and Eli Broad courtesy of SunAmerica; Jon M. Huntsman courtesy of Huntsman Corp.; Sally and James L. Barksdale courtesy of University of Mississippi; Kenneth E. Behring courtesy of Smithsonian Institution; Charles T. Bauer courtesy of AIM Management Group.