Pritzker family's $20M gift to UCLA targets environment and other societal challenges
By Alison Hewitt October 02, 2013 Category: Campus News
The charitable foundation of Los Angeles philanthropists Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker has donated $20 million to UCLA to create several endowments, largely to support environmental and sustainability research aimed at helping Los Angeles and cities around the globe confront 21st-century challenges.
UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (IoES) will receive $15 million from the multifaceted gift, which will establish up to five faculty chairs, including a $5 million endowed Pritzker Distinguished Chair in Environment and Sustainability. The donation will also endow a center for urban sustainability that will focus research on the vital challenge of creating more sustainable cities. Finally, the IoES will become home to the $100,000 Pritzker Sustainability Prize, which will support the creation of new technologies and initiatives that allow humanity and nature to thrive.
The $20 million gift also provides a $3 million endowment for grants to UCLA students who are or were in foster care. The endowment will help foster youth focus on their studies by providing funding to cover the kinds of unexpected financial needs that, for other students, are often paid for by parents or family.
The remainder of the transformative donation goes to UCLA's Hammer Museum, where $2 million will support expanded arts programs for children and families. The gift will ensure that the Hammer can offer free programs to families across Los Angeles at a time when arts programs in schools are more limited than ever.
"This wide-ranging gift is a powerful expression of how visionary philanthropy can impact diverse areas of our society," said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. "The Pritzkers are taking aim at significant societal problems, and UCLA and Los Angeles will benefit enormously from their leadership. We are honored by their generosity and inspired by their trust in UCLA to develop solutions to pressing challenges facing our city, our country and the world."
UCLA has benefited from the support of the Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation for more than a decade.
"We are excited to be associated with the world-class institution that is UCLA and to create endowed faculty chairs to help continue attracting top-tier professors — a top fundraising priority for the university," said Tony Pritzker, who co-chairs the volunteer steering committee planning UCLA's Centennial Campaign. "These funds will further UCLA's standing as a leader in environmental sustainability and practice, as a university that cares about creating access and academic success for all students, and as a vital community resource for the arts."
The Pritzkers are heavily involved in a wide range of philanthropic activities. Jeanne Pritzker is known for her work with foster youth, both through the family's foundation and the nonprofit organization she founded, Foster Care Counts. Tony Pritzker has long been a champion of UCLA, where he chairs the board of advisers of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and sits on the board of the Hammer Museum. He also serves on the board of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and actively supports many other community organizations. He is managing partner and co-founder of The Pritzker Group, a private equity firm, and partner of the venture capital firm New World Ventures.
"These are issues that Jeanne and I are passionate about and where UCLA's expertise can make a big impact on Los Angeles," Tony Pritzker said. "We believe we're investing in more than UCLA — we're investing in improving the whole region."
For more than a decade, the Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation has been investing in strengthening many of the unique institutions that define Los Angeles. The foundation aims to enrich our community, not just for the present bur for generations to come, with a particular focus on medicine, higher education, the environment, the arts and foster care.
UCLA is California's largest university, with an enrollment of more than 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer 337 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Six alumni and six faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize.