Wave of big philanthropy – Support for biotech

Schools and charities throughout the U.S. have announced a series of major donations and philanthropic efforts.

* The Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Chevy Chase, Md., said it will develop a $500 million biomedical science center over 10 years to develop advanced technology for biomedical researchers and help scientists from throughout the world create new tools for biology.

* The School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore said an anonymous donor’s $58.5 million gift will help launch a new Institute for Cell Engineering.

* The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is giving $20 million through a World Bank trust fund to help wipe out the disfiguring disease known as elephantiasis that affects 120 million people, Reuters reported Feb. 1.

* Philanthropist George Weiss, known for sending disadvantaged West Philadelphia students to college for free, has given $20 million more to the University of Pennsylvania, doubling his total contributions to the school, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Feb. 2.

* The Inquirer also reported Feb. 2 that Mary Watt Van Dusen, a 1927 alumna of Philadelphia’s Springside School who died Jan. 14 at the age of 92, gave the school a bequest of $5.5 million to boost teacher salaries.

* The California Endowment, the state’s largest foundation, has awarded $24 million to mental-health service providers to help develop new prevention and intervention approaches for groups most at-risk, including abused children, the homeless, refugees and immigrants, and families suffering from domestic violence.

* The Milwaukee Foundation says it received $24 million in total gifts in 2000, up 25 percent from the previous year, and awarded $15.6 million in grants, The Business Journal reported.

* The Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago raised a record-high $65.2 million in its annual campaign in 2000, up from $63.1 million a year earlier and setting a fundraising record for the eighth straight year. The group says it and its counterpart in New York are the only Jewish communities in North America to raise more than $60 million in their annual campaigns.

* The College of Engineering at Florida International University received $10 million to support initiatives in biomedical engineering, the Miami Herald reported Feb. 1. The Miami-based Wallace H. Coulter Foundation gave $5 million, which was matched by the state.

For full story, go to Reuters, Philadelphia Inquirer, The Business Journal and the Miami Herald.

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