Donation News

Star-Studded Sing-a-Long Raises $5 Million for Historic Apollo Theatre

Since it first opened in 1934, the Apollo Theatre has been a hotspot for African American culture—particularly music. Its amateur night has been the starting point for many big names in music, including Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Bill Cosby, and Lauryn Hill. These days, the theater relies on generous donations to keep its legacy going. That’s why billionaire Ron Perelman’s seventh annual fundraiser is so important.

On August 20, Perelman’s “little barn in the Hamptons” was filled with big names from a variety of entertainment and business backgrounds, including comedian Chris Rock, singer/actress Jennifer Lopez, and private equity guru Henry Kravis.

Guests paid $10,000 to mingle among the stars and hear live music performances by Lionel Richie (who led sing-a-longs to his hits), The Roots, Gwen Stefani, and Joe Walsh. But there was a purpose beyond fun—to raise funds for the Apollo Theatre.

“We’ve got to break the divide between the haves and have-nots, the rich and the poor,” Perelman told his guests. “I think we can manage to do it with the arts….And the Apollo can do that better than any other institution I’ve been involved with.”

The theater that was to become the historic Apollo was built in Harlem, New York in 1913 by Jules Hurtig and Harry Seamon. The two burlesque operators ran it as Hurtig and Seamon’s New Burlesque Theater. In 1928 Bill Minsky bought the building and renamed it the 125th Street Apollo Theatre. Even though Harlem was becoming the epicenter of African American culture by that time, audiences and entertainers at the theater were entirely white.

That all changed on January 26, 1934, when new owners Sydney S. Cohen and Morris Sussman reopened the Apollo as a theater specifically meant to showcase black performance. Its “amateur night” became a popular feature, creating space for the first performances for many who went on to become big names in the music industry.

The Apollo is now officially a landmark building, drawing an estimated 1.3 million visitors every year.

Perelman’s annual fundraiser provides the Apollo with regular funds—this year, about $5 million—to continue its support of the African American art scene in New York.

Photo: Felix Lipov /

News The Power of Giving

Marie-Josée Kravis and Henry R. Kravis Establish New Scholarships for Students

The Stern Undergraduate College at New York University has announced that it will use a generous donation of $1.8 million from the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Foundation to create a new scholarship. The funds will support high-achieving, low-income students entering Stern for the fall 2016 semester. Students given the scholarship will be known as the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis scholars.

The Kravis Foundation also supports NYU’s “Momentum Campaign,” which hopes to raise $1 billion in funding over the next six years for scholarships. With the addition of the Kravis’ donation, the school has now raised over $100 million to put toward scholarships, and it has reached the halfway point in its overall goal with $500 million raised.

“Talent doesn’t correlate with zip code. This scholarship will help more talented men and women who lack resources pursue higher education,” said Henry Kravis, co-founder and co-CEO of global investment firm KKR.

Andrew Hamilton, NYU’s president, agrees. “Addressing college costs and affordability are among my foremost priorities,” he said. “Next year, we will enact NYU’s smallest increase in undergraduate cost-of-attendance in more than 20 years. But even important steps such as that must be accompanied by improvements in scholarship aid.”

“And so we are grateful to Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis for their generous gift, which will permit students filled with talent and ambition but lacking financial resources to obtain the NYU education of which they dream,” Hamilton said.

This is not the first donation the Kravis Foundation has made to education. Last spring, the foundation pledged $100 million to Rockefeller University to create a new laboratory as a campus extension. That laboratory will be a two-floor centerpiece of the new Stavros Niarchos Foundation—David Rockefeller River Campus, consuming three city blocks on the shore. The new lab will provide plenty of space for the school’s science and research projects.

The Kravis Foundation’s gifts ensure that new generations of intelligent, committed students will have the educational resources they need for years to come.

News The Power of Giving

MSK Center to Open New Lung Center

The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) announced Thursday, July 9th, that it is opening a new Lung Cancer Center—The Fiona and Stanley Druckenmiller Center for Lung Cancer Research (DCLCR). The DCLCR was made possible by a $25 million donation from MSK board member Stanley Druckenmiller and his wife, Fiona.

“Dramatic advancements have been made in the treatment of and screening for lung caner, but it continues to be the most deadly form of cancer,” said MSK President and CEO Craig B. Thompson, MD. Thompson notes that, in 2015 there are estimated to be more than 200,000 new cases of the disease in the U.S. alone. “It is a critical time to be on the forefront of fighting this disease, and now, thanks to the generosity of Stanley and Fiona Druckenmiller, we can amplify the work we’ve done to fight lung cancer both in the clinical setting in the lab.”

MSK is accustomed to receiving large philanthropic donations that create fantastic opportunities for them. For example, in 2014 the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Center for Molecular Oncology (CMO) was opened, thanks to a $100 million donation from, you guessed it, philanthropists Henry R. Kravis and his wife Marie-Josée Kravis.

The DCLCR, according to MSK, will promote the development and testing of novel strategies to treat lung cancer through several overlapping initiatives.

The DCLCR will allow MSK to do even more good for the ill. Lung cancer especially is a potent killer. In fact, it is the leading killer in both men and women in the U.S.! While smoking is a main cause of lung cancer, contributing to between roughly 80 to 90 percent of lung cancer, it is possible to have lung cancer even if you have never smoked—this can occur through exposure to second-hand smoke, or for many other reasons.

Looking to learn more about philanthropy in the world of lung cancer research, or do you feel moved to make a donation? Click here to visit the Lung Cancer Research foundation’s website.

News Organizations

Kravis Leadership Institute Celebrates 20th Anniversary

The Kravis Leadership Institute at Claremont McKenna College sponsors education programs to help students develop their fullest potential through curricular and experimental learning. Named after prominent philanthropist and businessman Henry R. Kravis, a CMC alumna, the Leadership Institute is also well known for awarding major funds to worthy causes like Helen Keller International and Mothers2Mothers annually.

This year the Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership, a generous $250,000 gift, was awarded to Endeavor, an organization that supports entrepreneurs globally. And while such vital funds awarded annually always signify an important philanthropic moment, this year’s Prize in Leadership was especially significant, as it marked the 10th anniversary of the prize. What’s more, the recent awards ceremony also marked the 20th anniversary of the Kravis Leadership Institute.

According to The Forum’s Vivan Marwaha and Anoush Baghdassarian, “On Thursday, April 23, Claremont McKenna College hosted the tenth annual Kravis Prize Award Ceremony. […] Not only did Thursday’s ceremony mark the tenth year of the Henry R. Kravis Prize in Nonprofit Leadership, but it also celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Kravis Leadership Institute, one of CMC’s eleven research institutes.”

Alia Kate, the Associate Director of External Relations at CMC’s Development Office provided remarks to The Forum that praised the impact that the Leadership Prize has made. Kate said, “the Kravis Prize is one of those gems that lends itself to the ethos of Claremont McKenna College. […] As we start a new decade with the Kravis Prize and as CMC comes into its own as a Changemaker Campus we look forward to the next chapter where we continue to deepen our connection with past Kravis Prize recipients and explore continued collaborations with these bold, visionary leaders.”

Indeed, the Kravis Leadership Prize doesn’t simply impact the annual recipient, but those who work and learn at Claremont McKenna College as well. For two decades now, the presence of the Kravis Leadership Institute has helped shape the experiences of countless students at the institution by providing them with opportunities to learn and grow in multifaceted, innovative ways. Similarly, its generous contributions like the annual Kravis Prize in Leadership have been instrumental in supporting the growth and influence of nonprofits around the world.


Endeavor Awarded 2015 Kravis Prize in Nonprofit Leadership

The Henry R. Kravis Prize in Nonprofit Leadership was established in 2006, to create a process to choose a worthy annual recipient. The organization looks to reward and praise worthy institutions that impact and inspire communities around the world. Endeavor’s mission statement is to help High-Impact Entrepreneurs unleash their potential by providing an unrivaled network of seasoned business leaders who look to provide the key assistance to make a business model work.


Endeavor has supported charitable initiatives such as those organized by Sugianto Tandio, who looked to solve the waste and pollution problems that Indonesia faces. With the help from Endeavor, Tandio was able to turn his company, Tirta Marta, into a next generation eco-friendly company using Indonesia’s natural resources. Endeavor will receive the Kravis Prize and $250,000 later this month at the Claremont McKenna College as part of it’s 10th Anniversary of the prize, and of the 20th Anniversary of the College’s Kravis Leadership Institute.

“Endeavor exemplifies the Prize’s philosophy about entrepreneurship, social good, and venture philanthropy. Endeavor’s leadership has had a profound impact on everyday people,” said Marie-Josée Kravis, an economist who is chair of the Kravis Prize Selection Committee. “We are grateful for its remarkable work to change lives all over the world, creating invaluable jobs and resources.”

Said alumnus and trustee of the College, Henry R. Kravis, “Endeavor is a perfect example of a nonprofit that has significant influence on the ground and great success creating a sustainable ecosystem for future impact.” Kravis, who is also a co-founder of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P, continued to praise the 2015 winner, “We applaud Endeavor’s impressive accomplishments developing high-impact companies and entrepreneurs, and work to transform the economic landscapes of underdeveloped countries.”

Claremont McKenna College has had such previous winners as Helen Keller International and Mothers2Mothers, with all the recipients having been found be representative of the kind of organization that both Henry Kravis and Claremont McKenna are proud to recognize.

Organizations The Power of Giving

The Greatest Philanthropic Contributions of 2014

Image: via Shutterstock

2014 was a great year in the world of philanthropy. Organizations and individual philanthropists gave generously over the last 12 months, and it was inspiring to see such bigheartedness. Here, we highlight some of the greatest philanthropic contributions of 2014 in the areas of education, health, the arts, and other charitable foundations.

Health – One of the biggest charitable donations within the health sector in 2014 came from Henry R. Kravis and his wife Marie-Josée, whose contribution of $100 million to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center allowed for the formation of a new, cutting edge molecular oncology center. Another significant philanthropic contribution came from Gert Boyle, who donated $100 million to the Oregon Health and Science University, a nationally prominent research university.

Education – In 2014, Hong Kong real estate developer Ronnie Chan donated $175 million to Harvard University in what became one of the largest philanthropic donations from a single donor of the year. Additionally, Chan’s brother Gerald matched Ronnie’s donation, generously offering another $175 million to the Ivy League institution. San Diego-based philanthropist Conrad Prebys gave not once but twice to San Diego State University in 2014, in another showing of generosity towards higher education.

Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett gave the largest donation of 2014.   Image: Flickr CC via Fortune Live Media

The Arts – In early 2014 news broke that the Denver Art Museum would receive 22 impressionist landscapes from collector and philanthropist Frederic C. Hamilton. The generous donation is estimated by art experts to be worth as much as $100 million, and was one of the largest philanthropic contributions to the arts this year. Another major donation to the arts in 2014 came from Jerry Perenchio, who pledged an astounding $500,000,000 worth of artworks to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Charitable Foundations – According to Market Watch, the single largest charitable donation from one person in 2014 came from none other than Warren Buffett. Buffett reportedly donated $2.1 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which supports initiatives in education, world health, and community giving in the Pacific Northwest.

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Helen Keller International Launches Holiday Campaign

helen keller international logo

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” – Helen Keller

Helen Keller International, winner of the 2014 Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership and one of the highest ranked international charities in the world, recently announced plans to launch a holiday campaign to encourage donors to support programs that empower the most vulnerable communities.

Founded in 1915 by Helen Keller and George Kessler, Helen Keller International is one of the oldest nonprofit organizations devoted to preventing blindness and reducing malnutrition globally. The organization already works in 22 countries, but hopes to increase its efforts and donor support this holiday season in honor of its upcoming Centennial.

“In the new year, we will be kicking off our Centennial – and Helen Keller International is as relevant today as it was 100 years ago,” said Kathy Spahn, President and CEO of the organization. She continues, “In 1915, American philanthropist George Kessler and humanitarian crusader Helen Keller found what would become Helen Keller International. Though our programs have grown and evolved throughout the years, from the beginning, our mission has been to provide opportunity and hope where there is hardship and despair.”

According to a press release on Digital Journal, “Women and children under five remain among the world’s most vulnerable groups,” of why Helen Keller International has directed its focus to women and young children as part of its holiday campaign. The press release continues, “Using proven, cost-effective interventions in combatting the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition, Helen Keller International currently has more than 180 programs that reach 100 million people each year in 21 African and Asian countries, as well as in the United States,” of the organization’s incredible efforts to eradicate blindness and malnutrition globally.

For nearly 100 years, Helen Keller International has demonstrated the power of humanitarianism and philanthropy. By focusing its efforts on those most at risk for malnutrition and blindness, the organization will continue to exist as a true philanthropic leader, and will make a greater impact than ever as it enters its Centennial year.

Learn more by visiting


Memorial Sloan Kettering Earns Top Cancer Hospital Prize with the Help of Vital Philanthropy

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center IMG: via Stanford.

News recently broke that for the first time in seven years, MD Anderson Cancer Center was bumped to the runner-up spot in the U.S. News & World Report rankings of the best hospitals. According to The Clinical Cancer Letter, “MD Anderson Cancer Center’s uninterrupted seven-year stretch as the top cancer hospital in the U.S. News & World Report rankings has come to an end. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has broken the spell of being the perpetual runner-up and moved to the lead.”

Memorial Sloan Kettering’s new title as best cancer center in the United States is somewhat unsurprising, given the recent oncological developments and innovations that have been made there. The cancer center has been regarded as one of the world’s premier medical institutions, and has garnered significant amounts of funding from donors who believe in its work and tireless mission to fight and treat cancer. Many major developments to the hospital’s facilities could not have been made without the generous donations of philanthropists.

Earlier this year, the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Foundation donated an astounding gift of $100 million to the cancer center, which allowed for the formation of a division that utilizes advanced, cutting-edge technology. The Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Center for Molecular Oncology (CMO) has allowed for groundbreaking advancements in cancer research and patient care. According to Inside Philanthropy, the $100 million gift is the largest donation the Kravis Foundation has made.

Earning the title of best cancer hospital is a true achievement for Memorial Sloan Kettering, and validates the important, tireless work it does. According to Memorial Sloan Kettering, the “CMO brings together researches with many different areas of expertise – including cancer biology, pathology, bioinformatics, and systems biology – to undertake a vast, translational research program,” of the broadened reach the Cancer Center has because of the new endeavors of the CMO.

Learn more about how Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center earned the title of best hospital by visiting the U.S. News and World Report Hospital Rankings.

Organizations Resources

Groundbreaking Advancements in Medicine Made Possible By Donor Generosity at Memorial Sloan Kettering

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center IMG: via Stanford.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is one of the world’s premier institutions tirelessly devoted to curing and treating cancer, as well as developing new technologies to help prevent the deadly disease. As the world’s largest and oldest private cancer center, Memorial Sloan Kettering has dedicated more than 130 years to exceptional patient care and groundbreaking research and cancer treatment developments. The prestigious cancer center would not be as globally renowned as it is today, however, without significant contributions from philanthropists and generous, committed donors.

Two of those donors are Henry R. Kravis and his wife Marie-Josée Kravis, prominent philanthropists who have invested a great amount of time and vital funding in supporting Memorial Sloan Kettering’s work.

Recently, the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Foundation donated a gift of $100 million to the cancer center, which allowed for the formation of the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Center for Molecular Oncology (CMO) to be formed. This division of the cancer center was designed to transform and innovate cancer care using cutting edge research and technology, and would not have been made possible without the remarkable generosity of the Kravises.

Advancements in medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering include a new procedure called the “tumor sequencing test,” which was designed to provide more personalized treatment options to patients.

According to Dr. Eva Kiesler, “A new genome-sequencing test developed at Memorial Sloan Kettering allows our doctors to quickly find out whether a patient’s tumor carries clinically useful mutations – including aberrations that make cancers vulnerable to particular drugs – and to match individual patients with available therapies or clinical trials that will most benefit them,” of the advancements in medicine being made at the center.

The primary goal of the CMO “is to expedite and streamline cancer genomics research to guide cancer treatment,” which will ultimately provide better treatment options for every single person who seeks care at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Learn more about the new oncology center and the donation that made it possible by visiting


New Yorkers Celebrate The Possibilities For Education At the 2013 Pratham Gala

Pratham 2013 Gala in Seattle
Pratham hosted a Gala in Seattle at the Museum of History & Industry
IMG: Facebook

Earlier this month, nearly 600 of New York City’s leaders in finance, technology, and entertainment gathered at the 2013 Pratham Tristate Gala. It was a night of generous fundraising, a celebration of the world’s children and critical volunteer work, and to learn more about Pratham’s commitment to improving education.

Pratham’s mission is to ensure that every child in India is in school and learning well. The organization was founded ”on the firm belief that education is the fundamental right of every child and no child should be deprived of this basic right simply because they don’t have access to school or resources that would enable them to realize their dreams.” Since 1994, Pratham has raised funds to fund urban learning programs that include improving libraries, establishing preschool education, and remedial classes, among other things. Pratham also seeks to shape school policy in many districts, provide books and tools, and help with computer literacy and English learning. These are a handful of the many ways that Pratham is improving the lives of children in India through education.

Pratham is a past recipient of the Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership, as well as the prestigious Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, among other honors. It is one of the most renowned nonprofit organizations with a focus on providing and improving education for under-served children. During nearly twenty years of commitment to advancing education opportunities in India, Pratham has garnered immense support from all around the world, and is a true leader in creating social change.

During the 2013 Pratham Tristate Gala in New York City, keynote speaker Chelsea Clinton said,

“One of the things we most respect about Pratham is not only its tireless focus on education, but that it very much tries to fill the gap between what the public sector can produce and the aspirations of families in India.”

This very sentiment was proven that evening, as the generosity of Gala attendees helped to raise close to $2 million for ongoing advancement of schools and school programs in India. One guest said that Pratham is “a global celebration of what people do for education.” Indeed, the organization inspires action in those who believe that education really is the most powerful tool to better the lives of underserved children around the world.

For more information about Pratham’s remarkable work, visit