Steve Cohen Funds Mobile Food Pantry: Philanthropy Tracker

(Bloomberg) -- Starting this month, a mobile food pantry will roll into the same Stamford, Connecticut zip code as Steve Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management.

A $400,000 grant from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation is making the customized, refrigerated pantry possible. It’s one of the 25 gifts included in the Bloomberg News Philanthropy Tracker for the month of March.

Steve Cohen Funds Mobile Food Pantry: Philanthropy Tracker

The Cohens’ gift, announced two months after he began managing outside investors’ money, is going to Person-to-Person, founded just days after the assassination of Martin Luther King. The organization has sites in Darien and Norwalk, Connecticut, which both have lower poverty rates rates than Stamford’s 9.4 percent.

“Instead of setting up a bricks-and-mortar situation, this gives us the flexibility,” Person-to-Person Executive Director Ceci Maher said. “If one site isn’t working out, we can move to another.”

One place the truck will park is at Building One Community, which teaches immigrants English as a second language and is just a mile away from Point72’s leafy campus. Other locations are the Ferguson Public Library, the Boys and Girls Club at the Yerwood Center, and Domus, which serves disadvantaged youths.

The truck can provide as many as 200 families with a week’s supply of food they get to select. A caseworker is also on board, in an office up front, to serve clients’ other needs, like preventing eviction or paying their utilities. The Cohens’ gift also helped secure a warehouse for the truck and its provisions. The couple has supported Person-to-Person since 2012 and funded a renovation in Norwalk.

Each month, the Bloomberg News Philanthropy Tracker rounds up big, small and interesting gift announcements. Email tips to

March gifts

$150 million: Susan and Richard Rogel, founder of Preferred Provider Organization of Michigan, to the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. The sum includes $40 million given as an unrestricted gift in 2013 that has now been earmarked for the cancer center. Richard’s father, both of Susan’s parents and Susan’s daughter died of cancer.

$30 million: Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s Chan Zuckerberg Initiative for Reach Every Reader, a program of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Integrated Learning Initiative. Researchers will develop and test an online tool to build reading skills based on an assessment of the child’s difficulties. The goal is to help children read at grade level by the end of third grade.

$22.5 million or so: Oprah Winfrey to her charitable foundation, with a donation of Weight Watchers International stock.

$20 million: Roman Abramovich, Russian billionaire and owner of Chelsea Football Club, to Israel’s Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer for a nuclear medicine research center.

$20 million: Dianne and Tad Taube, founder of real estate investment firm Woodmont Companies, to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford for a new building adding 149 patient beds.

$20 million: Maxine and Eugene Rosenfeld, of commercial real estate developer Forest Lane Management, to UCLA Health Sciences for a new medical training facility incorporating virtual reality.

$20 million: Dave Calhoun, a Senior Managing Director and Head of Private Equity Portfolio Operations at Blackstone Group, to Virginia Tech. The gift will fund 200 scholarships at the honors college, as well as programs to build interdisciplinary skills.

$20 million: Wendy and Barry Rowland, former chief administrative officer at Eaton Vance, to Burr and Burton Academy, a private co-ed high school at the foot of Mt. Equinox in Manchester, Vermont. Two grandsons are alumni.

$15 million: Bernie Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot, through the Marcus Foundation to create the Marcus Stroke Network, a coordinated effort among Emory University, Grady Health System, American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and Boca Raton Regional Hospital. Improving care for stroke patients is the focus, with initiatives including a 24/7 call center serving paramedics in Georgia.

$12 million: Lois Pope to Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine for research on macular degeneration and retinal diseases. Pope is the widow of the National Enquirer’s late publisher Generoso Pope.

$10 million: Lorry Lokey, founder of Business Wire, to the University of Oregon’s Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact. Its first building is scheduled to open in 2020.

$10 million: Jill and Frank Fertitta, CEO of Station Casinos, and Teresa and Lorenzo Fertitta, former CEO of Ultimate Fighting Championship, to Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada for operations and renovations including improvements to an emergency shelter for homeless men. The gift is also made through the Frank and Victoria Fertitta Foundation.

$9 million: Toni Rembe Rock, a lawyer, and Arthur Rock, one of America’s first venture capitalists, to California Academy of Sciences to provide free field trips to schoolchildren in San Francisco. The couple gave $11 million to the program in 2008.

$7.5 million: Sue and Robert O’Donnell, retired portfolio manager and director of Capital Research and Management Company, to Denison University for renovation of the William Howard Doane Library and a program in narrative nonfiction writing.

$5 million: Edythe and Eli Broad, Los Angeles-based philanthropists, to California Institute of Technology to endow a chair in honor of Nobel laureate David Baltimore. A past president of Caltech, Baltimore has researched cancer, AIDS and the immune response.

$5 million: Jennifer and Rob Waldron, CEO of Curriculum Associates, to Jumpstart, to help prepare low-income preschool children for kindergarten. The couple is making the gift through a donor-advised fund at the Boston Foundation, to be distributed over 10 years.

$5 million: Janet Perna, a retired IBM executive, to SUNY Oneonta for programs and scholarships with a focus on women in technology. Perna studied mathematics at the upstate New York school.

$5 million: Charles Koch, chairman of Koch Industries, through the Charles Koch Foundation to George Mason University to create three faculty positions in the economics department.

$5 million: Linda and Keith Monda, former president of Coach, to endow a modern and contemporary art curator position at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida. The donation encompasses a Yayoi Kusama painting and a Richard Serra print.

$4 million: Ellen and Bob Vladem, who built his fortune through trucking, logistics and car dealerships, to the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe. The gift is to open Vladem Contemporary, an annex for contemporary art.

$4 million: William Lauder, chairman of Estee Lauder, to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he’s a trustee. The gift supports the Wharton Leadership Fellows, second-year MBA students trained to mentor first-years.

$2 million: Sandy Miller, a general partner at venture capital firm IVP, with his family, to the University of Virginia’s Fralin Museum of Art to endow the directorship. Miller and his wife Vinie collect Chinese ink paintings.

$2 million: Physicist Mani Bhaumik to UCLA’s Division of Physical Sciences, to create the Mani L. Bhaumik Graduate Fellowship in Theoretical Physics and support a space for collaborative study. Bhaumik emigrated to the U.S. from India in 1959 and worked on laser technology that led to Lasik eye surgery.

$1 million: Painter Jamie Wyeth and his wife, Phyllis, a horse breeder, to the Monhegan Museum of Art & History, located on an island off the coast of Maine, where artists including Jamie’s father, Andrew Wyeth, and Edward Hopper have worked. The gift through their foundation is a challenge grant, which means the museum has three years to match it.

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