Brandeis University Gets $50 Million for Student Financial Aid

(Bloomberg) -- Brandeis University received $50 million from the estate of Chicago philanthropists that will be earmarked for student financial aid.

The donation is a record for Brandeis, a private research university near Boston in Waltham, Massachusetts, and will expand a scholarship fund that provides aid to undergraduate and graduate students, according to a statement Tuesday.

The fund started in the mid-1970s with $32,600 from Rosaline Cohn to honor her husband Jacob, who died in 1968. The Cohns’ relationship with Brandeis began in 1951, three years after the university was founded by the Jewish community, with a $100 gift even though neither had attended the school.

Values, Mission

When Rosaline Cohn died in 2010 at age 97, she left her daughter her entire estate, according to the statement. The estate of Marcia Cohn, who died in 2015, maintained the same beneficiaries as her mother’s.

“We are deeply moved that Mrs. Cohn was so inspired by Brandeis’ values and mission that she chose our university to receive this remarkable gift,” President Ron Liebowitz said in the statement.

Jacob Cohn was a 19-year-old immigrant from Lithuania when he established the Continental Coffee Co. in Chicago in 1915, according to the statement. He built the company into a national distributor of beverages and food and sold it in 1998 to Sysco Corp.

Other Donors

Previously, the single largest gift was $25 million from the Carl and Ruth Shapiro family for the Carl J. Shapiro Science Center, according to the school. The Shapiros have given a total of $77 million to Brandeis, the most from an individual donor or family.

As of June 30, 2016, Brandeis’s endowment was valued at $866 million, down from $915 million the year prior, according to financial documents.