The Slate60

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

11. FRANK BATTEN SR.$60 million to the UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA. Mr. Batten, 73, the retired chairman of Landmark Communications, an international media company in Norfolk, Va., graduated from the University of Virginia in 1950. The gift is being used to establish the Batten Institute at the graduate school of business. Portions were earmarked for new professorships, scholarships, a fellows program for corporate executives, and the Progressive Incubator program, which helps students and faculty start businesses. The institute will expand the work of the university’s Batten Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, which was founded in 1996 with $13.5 million from Mr. Batten.

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11. JOHN W. KLUGE$60 million to the LIBRARY OF CONGRESS. Mr. Kluge, 86, is the founder of Metromedia Co., a private company that owns telecommunications and media holdings, and chairman of the Madison Council, a group of people who have made large donations to the Library of Congress. His donation will establish the John W. Kluge Center and the John W. Kluge Prize for the Human Sciences. The center will provide scholars with offices and meeting space at the library. The prize fund will give $1 million prizes to recognize lifetime achievements of scholars in fields such as history, anthropology, sociology, and literary and artistic criticism.

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11. MARGUERITE BROOKS and H.F. (GERRY) LENFEST$60 million to four groups. Mr. and Mrs. Lenfest gave unrestricted endowment gifts to their alma maters: $35 million to MERCERSBURG ACADEMY, the Pennsylvania private school from which Mr. Lenfest, 70, graduated in 1949; and $10 million to WILSON COLLEGE, in Chambersburg, Pa., from which Mrs. Lenfest graduated in 1955. The Lenfests also contributed an unrestricted $10 million to the capital campaign at the PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ART, where Mr. Lenfest is a trustee, and gave $5 million to URSINUS COLLEGE, in Collegeville, Pa., to help build an arts center. The Lenfests sold Lenfest Communications, an entertainment and communications company, to Comcast Corp. in 2000.

14. ROBERT EDWARD (TED) TURNER$50.6 million to the UNITED NATIONS FOUNDATION. Mr. Turner established the United Nations Foundation, which supports the work of the United Nations, in 1997. He pledged up to $1 billion, to be paid in 10 annual installments of $100 million, to the foundation. Mr. Turner paid only about half that amount in 2000; over three years he has given $216.3 million. Mr. Turner founded the Turner Broadcasting System and Cable News Network. He is now vice chairman and senior adviser at AOL Time Warner.

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15. THEODORE J. FORSTMANN$50 million to the CHILDREN’S SCHOLARSHIP FUND. Mr. Forstmann, 60, a senior partner at Forstmann Little & Co., a New York investment company, co-founded the scholarship fund, which serves students nationwide, in 1998. His donation will provide 7,500 four-year scholarships for students from low-income families to attend private or parochial schools.

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15. BILLY JOE (RED) McCOMBS$50 million to the UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN. Mr. McCombs, 73, who attended the university but did not graduate, owns the Minnesota Vikings and co-founded Clear Channel Communications, an advertising company in San Antonio, Texas. The university will use the unrestricted gift for its business school, which will be renamed for Mr. McCombs.

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15. RICHARD M. and SANDRA SCHULZE$50 million to the UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS (Minnesota). Mr. Schulze, 59, said he had hoped to attend the University of St. Thomas, in St. Paul, when he graduated from high school. But he went to work for his father’s electronics company instead. Mr. Schulze went on to found Best Buy, an electronics and appliance retailer. He has been a member of the university’s board of trustees since 1995. The Schulzes gave money for scholarships, entrepreneurial programs in the business department, and general support for a law school that is scheduled to open in September.

15. CLARA ROSENTHAL WEITZENHOFFER—art valued at $50 million to the UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA. Mrs. Weitzenhoffer inherited money from her father, Henry Rosenthal, an oil-company owner, and her husband, Aaron Max Weitzenhoffer, co-founder of the Davon Oil Co., in Oklahoma. The collection, which will be displayed at the university’s Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, consists of 33 Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings and works on paper by Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Vincent van Gogh, and others, as well as decorative-arts objects from the 17th and 18th centuries. Mrs. Weitzenhoffer died in 2000 at age 88.

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19. ALBERTO VILAR—a total of $46.5 million to WASHINGTON AND JEFFERSON COLLEGE and four other groups. Mr. Vilar, 60, founder of Amerindo Investment Advisors, a technology-investment company in New York, gave $15 million to Washington and Jefferson College, in Washington, Pa., to build the Vilar Technology Center, which will house computer laboratories and the college’s mathematics department. He also gave $14 million to the KIROV OPERA, in St. Petersburg, Russia; $7.5 million to the ROYAL OPERA HOUSE, in London; $5 million to the MUSIKVEREIN concert hall, in Vienna; and $5 million to the SALZBURG FESTIVAL, in Austria.

20. EDWARD H. HARTE$46 million to the HARTE RESEARCH FOUNDATION. Mr. Harte, 78, publisher emeritus of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, is using his gift to establish and support the Harte Research Center for Gulf of Mexico Studies, at Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi. The center will study how to manage and conserve the Gulf Coast’s natural resources. The donation will pay for six professorships, 12 graduate research fellowships, undergraduate scholarships, materials, and travel.

Photographs of: Marguerite Brooks and H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest courtesy of Wilson College; Theodore J. Forstmann courtesy of Forstmann Little and Co.; Billy Joe (Red) McCombs courtesy of University of Texas at Austin.

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