Actors Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher donate to help Ukrainian refugees
An overview of notable donations compiled by the The Chronicle:
Roy and Diana Vagelos donated $55 million to renovate and expand Altschul Hall, which will be renamed Roy and Diana Vagelos Science Center, and to support programs to prepare women for careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
Roy Vagelos is a renowned medical researcher. He worked for the National Institutes of Health for a decade before joining the faculty of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and becoming head of the Department of Biological Chemistry in 1966. He left the university in 1975 to join the pharmaceutical giant Merck, where he led the discovery of statins Mevacor and Zocor. He then became CEO and Chairman of Merck.
Diana Vagelos graduated from Barnard in 1955 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and served as vice-chairman of the college’s board of trustees. The couple have given Barnard at least $35 million since 2008 and donate a lot to other institutions as well. They appeared on the The Chronicle’s annual Philanthropy 50 list of the largest donors three times since 2010.
Frederick Gunn School
Jonathan and Lizzie Tisch donated $25 million to build the Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Center for Innovation and Active Citizenship, which will house the STEM (science, math, engineering, technology) curriculum, entrepreneurship and citizenship of the ‘private school. Their donation will also support the school’s interdisciplinary courses aimed at promoting reasoned dialogue, rational debate and active citizenship. The opening of the building is scheduled for next year.
Jonathan Tisch is president and general manager of Loews Hotels, New York. He graduated from the school in Washington, Connecticut, in 1972. This is not his first foray into supporting programs that promote engaged citizenship. In 2006, he gave his alma mater, Tufts University, $40 million to endow what became the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life.
Lizzie Tisch is a former banker who co-founded Suite 1521, a membership-based personal shopping business that hosted private salons where high fashion designers could meet clients and show off their collections. The business closed in 2017. The couple were listed in the 2019 Philanthropy 50.
University of Maryland Baltimore County
Betsy Sherman gave $21 million through her Sherman Family Foundation to establish the Betsy & George Sherman Center and expand the university’s elementary and early childhood programs in Baltimore schools.
The center’s efforts will focus on integrating the university’s work in teacher preparation, school partnerships, and applied research to improve academic achievement in the Baltimore school system.
Betsy Sherman has made a career in early childhood education. Her late husband, George, was an executive at Black & Decker in Baltimore and Danaher Corp. in Washington. He died last year at age 80.
David Meehl has donated $10 million to support quantum science programs at the College of Arts and Sciences, home of the Cornell Quantum Initiative. The money will be used to pay for a chair, two graduate scholarships and new equipment at the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering.
Meehl is retired. He has spent his career with several accounting firms, food companies and a non-profit organization in western Pennsylvania. He earned a bachelor’s degree and an MBA from Cornell in 1972 and 1974, respectively.
MacKenzie Scott has donated $10 million to this non-profit organization which partners with school districts across the country to ensure that refugee children from war-torn countries can continue their education.
The money will allow the charity to expand its work to 50 US school districts over the next five years as it aims to help children in Afghanistan, Ukraine and other countries facing conflict dangerous.
“As thousands of new refugees seek safety among us, we must do more than share sympathy and charity,” said Luma Mufleh, founder and CEO of the association. “To the children among them, in particular, we owe safe spaces to heal, learn and grow.”
Scott is a novelist who helped found Amazon with her former husband, Jeff Bezos. She has given more than $8 billion in unrestricted giving to nonprofits since 2020 and appeared in the 2020 Philanthropy 50 for the many gifts she gave that year to neglected and underserved charities. -supported.
Flexport.org and Airbnb.org funds
Actress Mila Kunis and her husband, actor Ashton Kutcher, have pledged to match up to $3 million in contributions from other donors to these two nonprofits that provide aid to Ukrainians who have fled the Russian invasion.
Flexport is organizing shipments of relief supplies to refugee sites in Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, while the nonprofit arm of Airbnb provides free short-term housing for Ukrainian refugees.
Kunis and Kutcher are well-known television and film actors. Kunis was born in Chernivtsi, Ukraine in 1983. She moved with her family to the United States in 1991 and later became an American citizen.
To learn more about other major gifts, check our database of gifts of $1,000,000 or more, which is updated regularly.