Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Brain Disorders & Philanthropy

This post is a little different than most... we will return to our regular posting schedule soon. In the meantime, enjoy & healthy new year!

These two articles, from The Foundation Center's Philanthropy News Digest, caught my eye because they both include very large donations (millions of dollars).

The first is regarding support for brain research, and the second talks briefly about one wealthy philanthropist's experience with depression.

I am excited to see mental illness coming to light in some small way in this newsletter, which is not actually focused on mental health but on philanthropy.

Any other interesting articles this week?
~ Oriana

Druckenmiller Foundation Announces $705 Million in Gifts
From Founders (1/04/10)

Fiona Druckenmiller, a former portfolio manager at the Dreyfus Corporation, and her husband Stanley Druckenmiller, the founder of Duquesne Capital Management and longtime associate of George Soros, gave $705 million to the Druckenmiller Foundation ( ) in 2009, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports.

While many of the wealthiest Americans have been reluctant to
make mega-gifts -- only sseven commitments of $100 million or
more were announced during 2009 -- the Druckenmillers have been
among the few to increase their giving. During the summer, for
example, they pledged $100 million to New York University's
Langone Medical Center, where Ms. Druckenmiller serves as a
trustee, to establish a neuroscience institute.

Established in 1993, the Druckenmiller Foundation primarily
supports medical research, education, and efforts to fight
poverty. In 2006, it awarded $25 million to the Harlem Children's
Zone, whose board Mr. Druckenmiller chairs. In addition, the
couple has provided gifts to Bowdoin College, the Spence School,
Human Rights Watch, the Robin Hood Foundation, and the New York
Stem Cell Foundation, as well as more than $46 million to the
Langone Center in addition to this year's gift.

In a statement, Ms. Druckenmiller said that she and her husband
believe scientific discoveries in neuroscience and stem cell
research will one day benefit and lengthen the lives of many
people. "Every family is affected in one way or another by brain
disorders or brain aging," she noted. "The brain is one of the
last great frontiers in medicine, and advances in related
research could help both the individual and society function at
a higher level."

Di Mento, Maria. "$705-Million Donation Announced." Chronicle of
Philanthropy 12/30/09.


Philanthropist Ruth Lilly Dies at 94 (1/04/10)

Ruth Lilly, one of the country's most generous philanthropists
and the last surviving great-grandchild of pharmaceutical magnate
Eli Lilly, has died at the age of 94, the Indianapolis Star

Over the course of her life, Lilly gave away the bulk of her
$800 million fortune, the source of which was Eli Lilly & Co.,
the pharmaceutical business established by her family in 1876.
What's more, she gave to a wide variety of causes and organiza-
tions, including colleges, hospitals, and charities, most in
her home state of Indiana. But it was her unexpected gift of
$100 million to the Modern Poetry Association, the publisher of
Poetry magazine, in 2002 that revealed something deeply personal
about Lilly: she was a poet at heart.

Yet, she lived reclusively and ventured out infrequently. Indeed,
despite the comforts her wealth provided, Lilly was plagued by
depression and spent much of her forty-year marriage to Guernsey
Van Riper, the son of a local advertising executive, wrestling
with her illness in a hospital. The marriage, which was childless,
was dissolved in October 1981; a week later, Lilly's brother,
J.K. Lilly III, had the fortune of his sister, then 66, placed
under the supervision of a guardian. From that point on, her
checks required the signature of an attorney.

In her 70s, Lilly's depression lifted, thanks in large part to
Prozac, Eli Lilly and Co.'s revolutionary antidepressant, and
she spent her last few decades in relative peace.

In her later years, Lilly's "philanthropy widened her circle of
contacts and interests," niece Irene L. McCutchen told the Star.
"Ruth's life became much more interesting and rewarding as her
interests in philanthropy involved her with a wide variety of
Indianapolis institutions. She enjoyed visiting with many wonder-
ful and talented people who served the community of Indianapolis,

Higgins, Will. King, Robert. "Indianapolis Philanthropist Ruth
Lilly Dies at Age 94." Indianapolis Star 12/31/09.

(Source: Philanthropy News Digest Jan 5, 2010).

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