Donations at the Diva Level

These women made million-dollar+ gifts to organizations of their endearment, in recent memory. This is my little way of celebrating their philanthropy, by sharing with you, dear readers, the positive emotional responses their gifts continue to elicit from me.

Care to comment? Tell me about a woman at your organization who has quietly gone about giving her time, talent and treasure with little fanfare. I would love to add her generosity to this list.

*last updated June 21, 2017

~~ Y,all, the late Jeanette Nassour elegantly left US$4M to various Austin arts, faith and education organizations including her beloved Austin Opera, in June 2017. NEWS

~~ The late Madeleine Rast left US$9M to her beloved National Museum of Women in the Arts (general endowment fund), reported by The Washington Post in June 2017. ARTICLE 

~~ Marilyn Beaudry-Corbett made a US$4M gift to the USC Marshall School of Business, in May 2017, as reported by USC News. The gift will fund scholarships for female MBA students who are 30 and older. PRESS RELEASE

~~ While the late Seth W Ryan wasn’t a “diva” in a gendered sense, his US$10M bequest for his alma mater Southeastern Louisiana University deserves an accolade on this list. He made his gift in the name of his late wife Thelma McNamara Nicaud Ryan who couldn’t afford to attend college. The gift, announced in April 2017, will be directed toward female students in specific academic disciplines. ANNOUNCEMENT

~~ Neda Nobari, a San Francisco State University alumna and Iranian-American philanthropist, gave US$5M to her alma mater to establish the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies, in 2016. It’s the first interdisciplinary center of its kind. ANNOUNCEMENT

~~ Miss Lyda Hill, 73, donated US$25M to establish the new Department of Bioinformatics at University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center, in June 2015. Her “exceptional gift” bridges research and clinical care using big data. NEWS RELEASE

~~ Finally, a Canadian woman donor! Elizabeth Wirth gave $7.5M to McGill University’s Schulich School of Music, to enhance student-related programs. The New Music Building on Sherbrooke Street in Montreal is named in her honour. (She volunteered and fundraised for McGill over many years first.) NEWS

Big Dreams

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