(Bloomberg) -- Blackstone’s Steve Schwarzman, who took home $786.5 million last year, gave $25 million to his high school in February, and encouraged school leaders to ask other donors for more.
“It may seem daunting to imagine becoming a fundraiser as well as an educator and administrator,” Schwarzman told school superintendents in Nashville earlier this month. “But get over it. In life, sometimes we do what we have to do to accomplish the objective that’s most important to us.”
It’s not new for public schools to get private funding. During the Jim Crow era, Julius Rosenwald of Sears, Roebuck built schools in the rural South. The 20th century marked the rise of the PTA bake sale. Donations to the March for Our Lives, a student protest against gun violence, also support public schools, as does funding of charter schools and an array of nonprofits.
NBA star Kevin Durant this week announced a $10 million gift to set up a College Track center serving the Maryland high school he attended and others in the region.
Schwarzman’s rallying call has the potential to unlock dollars at a critical time as buildings age and tax bases shrink, though his advice, notwithstanding his experience at fundraising and giving money away, has its limits. School leaders will need help developing the capacity to go out and collect checks and work with different parties.
Amy Sichel, the superintendent who approached Schwarzman, sought advice from a development officer at her graduate school alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. Private universities are well-oiled machines in this regard, as many of the gifts included in this month’s Philanthropy Tracker indicate.
$50 million: Brian Acton, co-founder of WhatsApp, to the Signal Foundation to make a surveillance-free messaging app.
$50 million: Ann and Sam Mencoff, co-founder of Chicago-based private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners, to Brown University to support research at its medical school, including the Brown Institute for Translational Science.
$30 million: Lynda and Stewart Resnick, co-chairs of Wonderful Co., to the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles to increase gallery space by 60 percent.
$25 million: Steve Schwarzman to Abington High School in Pennsylvania for redesigned curriculum, renovations and a new science and tech center. He also gave $10 million to the National Library of Israel toward a new building designed by Herzog & de Meuron with a planned 2020 completion date.
$20 million or so: Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, to the Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, with a donation of 67 Class A shares of the company’s stock.
$20 million: Gayle and Daniel D’Aniello, co-founder, Carlyle Group, for the construction of a National Veterans Resource Center, housing the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University, and initiatives including a job placement program. He is a 1968 graduate of Syracuse and a U.S. Navy veteran.
$15 million: Keith Block, chief operating officer of Salesforce.com, and his wife Suzanne Kelley to Carnegie Mellon University to establish the Block Center for Technology and Society at the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy. The center will study the economic impact of emerging technologies on economies, policy and organizations.
$15 million: Paul Raether, a partner at KKR & Co., and family, to Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business for scholarships.
$10 million: Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors to College Track to establish a center in Prince George’s County, Maryland, to help area students gain entry and graduate from college. College Track is raising money to open two other centers in Washington D.C. Durant is giving $1 million for 10 years, through the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation.
$7 million: Pamela Zilly, a retired senior managing director at Blackstone Group, to Connecticut College. Chair of the college from 2012 until June, Zilly will co-chair its next fundraising campaign. She graduated in 1975 with a major in economics and American history.
$6.5 million: Jodi and Michael Price, chairman of Empyrean Capital Partners, to UCLA for men’s and women’s basketball programs.
$5 million: Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine, co-managing partner of Bain Capital, to Boston public radio station WBUR for turning a former retail space into a venue for cultural events, debates and live broadcasts.
$2.5 million: The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, started by Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan, will give this amount over five years to individual scientists pursuing projects in neurodegeneration. Those new to the field are encouraged to apply. The awards, to be made in the fall, are named for Ben Barres, a neurobiologist at Stanford University who died of pancreatic cancer at age 63.
$1 million: Eli Broad to Everytown for Gun Safety to join “the courageous students of Parkland and millions of Americans demanding commonsense solutions to end the gun violence crisis,” he said in a statement. Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP, which operates Bloomberg News, is a member of Everytown’s advisory board.
$1 million: Kathryn and Leo Vecellio, chief executive of Vecellio Group, a road construction and energy company, for Leslie Cho’s research on mitral valve disease. Cho is director of Cleveland Clinic’s Women’s Cardiovascular Center.
$1 million: Robert F. Smith, co-founder of Vista Equity Partners, to Morehouse College in Atlanta for scholarships.
$1 million: Malcolm Chace of WhaleRock Point Partners to Colby College to support construction of an “integrated civic and institutional space" on the Waterville, Maine, campus.
$500,000: Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw to March for Our Lives, the March 24 protest in Washington organized by students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to end gun violence and mass shootings in schools.
$262,500: Laura and John Arnold Foundation to the National Resource Network for a five-year financial planning forecast for the city of Danville, Virginia. The total cost of the forecast is $350,000 with the city and the Danville Regional Foundation paying the difference.
$250,000: Wendell Mackey, co-founder of Channing Capital Management, to Howard University for a finance lab.
The Bloomberg News Philanthropy Tracker rounds up big, small and interesting gifts of the month. Email tips to email@example.com.
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