July 26, 2021

These alumni who fund American universities

Across the Atlantic, alumni are sometimes very generous with the establishments that trained them. After the record donation of 350 million dollars to Harvard, return on the largest donations to American universities.

Some people are very grateful to their university. This week, two Hong Kong brothers, incidentally billionaires, announced that they had donated 350 million dollars to the prestigious Harvard University. Very satisfied with their education, they wish to participate in the development of the School of Public Health at the American University, which will henceforth bear their name. American universities are familiar with these fundraising practices. Review of the most important donations in the United States.

Former New York mayor gives $ 1.1 billion to his university

Michael Bloomberg speaking at his former Johns Hopkins University. (Flickr / CC / Maryland GovPics)

It is certainly the most significant donation ever made to a university. The former mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg (from 2002 to the end of 2013), did not skimp on the means to thank his former establishment by bequeathing him no less than 1.1 billion dollars (more than 850 million dollars). euros). The exorbitant sum corresponds in fact to the total of the payments made, over a period of more than forty years, by the American politician at the university from which he graduated in electrical engineering in 1964. He had started after his graduation from the university. school, by a donation of … 5 dollars, teaches us the New York Times

The most recent donation, in 2013, amounted to $ 350 million. We can thus judge the advantageous turn taken by the career of Michael Bloomberg!

$ 350 million for Harvard

(Flickr/CC/Stella G. Soto)
(Flickr/CC/Stella G. Soto)

Gerald Chan, one of the two generous donor brothers, considered his time as a student at Harvard School of Public Health to be “transformative.” He did not hesitate, with his brother, to give the prestigious university the change of his coin, a change of 350 million dollars which will make it possible to finance research on various pandemics such as malaria or Ebola fever, as well as work on obesity, cancer, pollution or tobacco. It is the largest donation ever received by Harvard.

The Chan brothers launched the Morningside group, which invests in particular in biotechnology, mainly in China and the United States. They are ranked 17th in the 2014 ranking of the richest people in Hong Kong established by the American magazine Forbes with a fortune estimated at nearly three billion dollars.

University of Michigan receives $ 313 million from real estate mogul

Stephen Ross. (Capture d’écran Related Companies)
Stephen Ross. (Capture d’écran Related Companies)

A 1962 graduate from the University of Michigan, Stephen Ross waited ten years before founding Related Companies, the real estate company that would make his fortune. In 2013, Forbes magazine estimated his fortune at 4.9 billion dollars, a sum that allowed him to afford an American football team, but also to finance his former university. With a total donation of $ 313 million, the businessman helped renovate the buildings of the business school and sports campus of the University of Michigan. As is often the case in the United States, this campus now bears his name.

American business man gives 250 million to Yale

On the Yale campus in New Haven, northeast New York.  (Flickr / CC / john)
On the Yale campus in New Haven, northeast New York. (Flickr / CC / john)

Charles B. Johnson, 184th fortune in the world according to Forbes thanks to his activities as businessmen, has decided to pay part of his 7.4 billion dollars to his former university. Graduated from Yale in 1954, he did not hesitate to pass on a (small) part of his capital when he learned that the university was looking for $ 80 million to expand its campus, giving it $ 250 million. Yale President Peter Salovey said at the time that the donation was “an extraordinary commitment on the part of one of the most loyal alumni”. There is no doubt that with a donation representing more than three times the amount initially requested, Peter Salovey should be satisfied.

A philanthropy that mainly benefits the richest universities

Many other donations exceeding $ 100 million are listed by an American website, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, which lists all of the largest donations made in the United States in the fields of health, the arts and heritage, and education. We learn that the University of Pennsylvania received a donation of 225 million and that those of Dartmouth and Georgetown respectively received 100 million dollars.

According to a ten-year study by Moody’s, published in 2008, and covering 208 private universities, the institutions with the largest capital are those which benefit the most from donations from former students who have become very wealthy. Institutions with $ 1 billion in equity received 67% of donations compared to 62% ten years earlier. While those with less than $ 100 million in equity have seen their share of donations erode by 3%. “Over the past decade, donations have unquestionably been concentrated on the wealthiest institutions,” confirms Suzan Fitzgerald, senior vice-president at Moody’s.