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The Largest Individual Gifts to Hospitals in 2015


Hospitals depend on donations for everything from new patient towers to new departments of medical research. So far, these 10 donors have given the largest gifts to hospitals or health care organizations in 2015.

Health and money

Hospitals depend on donations for everything from new patient towers to new departments of medical research. Fundraising galas and auctions get the ball going, but private individuals — whose names often end up on the outside of buildings – give amounts that put campaigns on track toward their goals.

So far, these 10 donors have given the largest gifts to hospitals or health care organizations in 2015. There are some familiar names, and some you may not recognize. Some are long-time supporters, and some are just starting their philanthropic efforts.

Though there are still a few more months left in 2015, these large donations will stand out as highlights of year for the organizations on the receiving end.

All information gathered from The Chronicle of Philanthropy database.

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10. Lyda Hill, Texas

Recipient: Parkland Foundation, Dallas

Amount: $10 million, pledge challenge

The granddaughter of an oil baron, and a Dallas businesswoman in her own right, Hill made a $10 million contribution towards the foundation’s capital campaign. Hill has also donated $25 million this year to the University of Texas Southwest Medical Center to establish a department of bioinformatics. Two years ago, Hill donated $50 million to the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, dedicated toward a research program focusing on eight different types of cancer.

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9. James Berbee and Karen Walsh, Wisconsin

Recipient: University of Wisconsin Hospital, Madison, WI

Amount: $10 million, gift challenge

Berbee, MD, a professor of emergency medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and his wife donated the gift to help expand the hospital’s emergency clinic. The gift was matched with a $3.5 million gift from John and Tashia Morgridge, alumni of the school, and will go towards establishing four endowed chairs, as well as increasing the size of the clinic from 34 to 50 beds.

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8. Harold and Nancy Zirkin, Washington, DC

Recipient: MedStar Health, Washington, DC

Amount: $10 million

The Zirkins’ gift will go towards the creation of a new heart hospital in the nation’s capital. The gift is the largest in the health system’s history. The $59 million MedStar Heart Institute will consolidate all of the system’s cardiac services into one location. The new hospital will open fully next year.

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7. Eric Trump, New York

Recipient: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN

Amount: $20 million

The youngest son of Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, Eric’s foundation has been raising money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital since 2006. In 2013, a donation from Trump helped push forward the $20 million The Eric Trump Foundation Surgical and ICU Center, which opened this year. The donation made this year will also go toward the ICU and surgical center.

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6. Ruth Bedford, Connecticut

Recipient: Norwalk Hospital, Norwalk, CT

Amount: $40 million, bequest

It was a shock to Norwalk Hospital to be notified that, as part of the estate of Ruth Bedford, $40 million would be coming their way. The granddaughter of a Standard Oil executive, Bedford’s family always supported the area hospital, as well as the local YMCA. After passing away six weeks shy of her 100th birthday, Bedford’s executor notified the hospital, her former school, and the YMCA that each would receive a gift of $40 million, no strings attached.

Health and money

5. Raymond G. Perelman, Pennsylvania

Recipient: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Amount: $50 million, gift

Perelman and his wife, Ruth, now deceased, have long been investing in health care in Philadelphia. The 97-year-old chairman of RGP Holdings donated $227 million the University of Pennsylvania to endow the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine in 2011. This year, Perelman donated an additional $50 million to CHOP, which will name an eight-acre portion of its University City Campus after the businessman. According to a Philadelphia Inquirer article from the time of the announcement, “Children's said it would use Perelman's $50 million to establish the Raymond G. Perelman Research Fund to support a Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics, Perelman Scholars, a Fund for Research Innovation, the Perelman Endowed Chair in Pediatric Ophthalmology, and general research.”

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4. Dwight C. and Martha Schar, Florida

Recipient: Inova Health System, Falls Church, VA

Amount: $50 million

Schar, founder of home-building giant NVR, told the Washington Post he wanted to give back to the community that bought so many of the houses his company built. He and his wife, Martha, donated $50 million this year towards Inova’s ambitious new cancer institute, expected to open in 2015. The project, which will remake a former Exxon-Mobile office, could cost nearly $300 million in total, but the money donated by the Schars will mostly be used to recruit world-class researchers.

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3. Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, California

Recipient: San Francisco General Hospital

Amount: $75 million, gift

Chan, a pediatrician, did some of her residency training at San Francisco General Hospital, the city’s only trauma center and safety-net hospital. The gift from the couple will go towards technology and critical equipment for the newly built portion of the hospital; the funds should also be able to help the hospital maintain modernity in years to come. The donation is considered the largest ever to a public hospital. Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, has already become of the most prolific philanthropists in the country.

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2. Conrad T. Prebys, California

Recipient: Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, La Jolla, CA

Amount: $100 million

The real estate magnate donated some of the initial funds to get the institute’s drug discovery program up and running a decade ago; with this gift, Prebys’ name will be added to the institute, and the money will go towards research for new drugs and treatments. Prebys has donated more than $250 million to San Diego-area organizations, including those in healthcare, the arts, and education.

Health and money

1. David H. Koch, New York

Recipient: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City

Amount: $150 million pledge

The executive vice president of Koch Industries, David H. Koch put forth the largest donation to a hospital this year. Koch is a board member at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, and the money will go towards an outpatient cancer care center. Koch’s foundation has donated more than $1 billion to cancer-related charities. He also donated $100 million to New York-Presbyterian Hospital in 2013, the largest gift to a hospital that year. The 23-story tower will be able to serve more than 1,300 patients daily, and offer the space needed to conduct clinical trials.

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