Mayor of NYC is said to be donor

Bloomberg has twice given $100 million to JHU, sources say

February 03, 2006|By LIZ BOWIE | LIZ BOWIE,SUN REPORTER

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was the anonymous donor of a $100 million gift to the Johns Hopkins Institutions announced yesterday, according to two sources familiar with his philanthropy.

The gift is said to be Bloomberg's second $100 million donation to his alma mater, making him the school's largest individual contributor.

The $100 million will go to help build a children's hospital in East Baltimore, renovate Gilman Hall on the John Hopkins University's Homewood campus and fund stem cell research. A portion of the donation also will help fund yet undetermined work at the School of Public Health, which bears Bloomberg's name.

The sources discussed Bloomberg's gift on the condition of anonymity. A 1964 electrical engineering graduate of Johns Hopkins, Bloomberg served on the Hopkins' board of trustees from 1987 to 2002 and was its chairman from 1996 until resigning after being elected mayor in 2001. In his term as chairman, the university's endowment more than doubled to $1.8 billion.

The university announced the donation as an anonymous gift and, even after word leaked yesterday, maintained its silence on the identity of the donor.

Bloomberg's first $100 million gift, given in two stages in 1995 and 1998, also was spread among different Hopkins institutions.

Some suspect Bloomberg also was the source of another anonymous gift of $100 million in 2001, which went to the School of Public Health to fund malaria research. Bloomberg, when asked about that gift, had declined to discuss it. His first large gift to the school was in 1988, when he gave $5 million to Bloomberg Center for Physics and Arts. Another $1 million was donated in 1994 to endow a professorship in his mother's name.

In a 2001 interview with The Sun, after he had announced that he would be resigning from the board, Bloomberg said he would continue his philanthropic pursuits. "Everybody still wants your money," he said jokingly. "I intend to keep up the donations."

The $100 million announced this week will assist the university with its campaigns to raise money for buildings, in particular a new Children's Tower at Johns Hopkins Hospital that is estimated to cost $275 million.

The gift to the Institute for Cell Engineering is significant at a time when Hopkins is trying to attract and keep leaders in the stem cell research field and federal research dollars have dried up. President Bush imposed rules in 2001 that prohibit researchers from using federal money for investigating stem cell lines that didn't exist before the policy went into effect.

The largest single gift to the university was the $150 million that New York clothing industry billionaire Sidney Kimmel donated to the cancer center in 2001.

A number of colleges and universities have received hundreds of millions of dollars from single donors, including the California Institute of Technology, which received $600 million over a decade from Gordon and Betty Moore and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

A Business Week article in November listed Bloomberg as the 13th most generous philanthropist in the nation, with an estimated lifetime giving of $733 million. The mayor, who was the founder of the Bloomberg LP financial news company, is believed to be worth $5 billion.

liz.bowie@baltsun.com

Sun researcher Paul McCardell contributed to this article.

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