Ken Griffin Kicks in $3 Million for Soccer: Philanthropy Tracker

(Bloomberg) -- Some of the big gifts made in December make the smaller ones requested by nonprofits in the final days of the year seem so reasonable. And then there’s also the closing window on charitable deductions.

Whatever your motivation, there are plenty of causes vying for attention right now, and the entries in the latest installment of the Bloomberg News Philanthropy Tracker just might inspire you. Ken Griffin got behind after-school soccer programs. An iconic movie house in the Hamptons will be saved. Howard G. Buffett gave a boost to a new academy focused on agribusiness careers.

To submit a gift to be considered for inclusion in the Philanthropy Tracker, please email

December Gifts:

$250 million: Diana and Roy Vagelos, 88, former Merck CEO now chairman of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, to Columbia University’s medical school, mostly for student aid. The gift will also endow a professorship named after faculty member Tom Jacobs, an endocrinologist who volunteers with Physicians for Human Rights.

Ken Griffin Kicks in $3 Million for Soccer: Philanthropy Tracker

$165 million: Laura and Jack Dangermond, founders of mapping software company Esri, to the Nature Conservancy to purchase the Coco-Jalama Ranches in Santa Barbara County, California. The 24,000 acres contain oak woodlands, coastal prairies and beaches. The site is home to two private working cattle ranches, dozens of threatened species and prime surfing spots.

$50 million: Austin McChord, 32, founder and CEO of Datto Inc., a data security firm, to Rochester Institute of Technology for cybersecurity and entrepreneurship programs.

$25 million: Laurie and Jeff Ubben, 56, founder and CEO, Valueact Capital, to World Wildlife Fund for global conservation work with $5 million allotted for a partnership with Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

$22.5 million: Peter Werth, founder of generic drug developer and supplier ChemWerth, to University of Connecticut for entrepreneurship and innovation initiatives.

$20 million: Tashia and John Morgridge, 84, former CEO and chairman of Cisco Systems, to University of Wisconsin-Madison for faculty and scholarships.

$10 million: Glen de Vries, 45, co-founder of Medidata Solutions, maker of clinical research software, to Carnegie Mellon University to endow the dean’s chair at the Mellon College of Science.

$10 million: Lola and Rob Salazar, founder of Central Street Capital Inc., to the University of Colorado-Denver for a new student wellness center.

$3 million: Ken Griffin, 49, founder of Citadel, to U.S. Soccer Foundation for national expansion of an afterschool soccer program.

$1.65 million: Howard G. Buffett, 63, to Dwayne O. Andreas Ag Academy, which prepares students for agribusiness careers. The school in Decatur, Illinois set to start classes in the fall is named after the late head of Archer Daniels Midland Co. 

$1.2 million Jon Huntsman Sr., founder of Huntsman Corp., to the Road Home, a social services agency in Salt Lake City assisting the homeless. Huntsman’s son Jon, a former presidential candidate, is currently serving as U.S. ambassador to Russia.

$1.4 million: Long Island Regional Economic Development Council to Sag Harbor Partnership toward the purchase of the Sag Harbor Cinema. The movie house damaged in a fire will be restored and turned into a cultural center.

$800,000: Anousheh Ansari, a private space explorer and co-founder and CEO of Prodea Systems, and Rouzbeh Yassini-Fard, an early pioneer in cable modems, to Stanford University for a graduate fellowship in memory of mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani.

$500,000: Carolyn Hunter, a McDonald’s franchisee, to the proposed International African American Museum in Charleston, South Carolina. The museum is fundraising toward building a facility in Gadsden’s Wharf, once a busy port for the slave trade, by 2020.

$50,000: Jimmy John Liautaud, 53, founder of Jimmy John’s sandwich chain, to the Youth Assessment Center in Champaign, Illinois. The center offers juvenile diversion programs aimed at keeping youth out of the criminal justice system.


Undisclosed amount of bitcoin: Halle Tecco, a digital health investor, and Jeff Hammerbacher, formerly of Facebook and Cloudera, now an assistant professor at the Medical University of South Carolina, to the school’s Hollings Cancer Center.

Mansion in Branson West, Missouri: Heidi and Cole Hamels, 34, pitcher for the Texas Rangers, to Camp Barnabas, a Christian retreat for youth with disabilities and special needs. The home was listed for $9.4 million before the gift was announced.

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