David Geffen

By Sabrina Singhapattanapong

DAILY BRUIN CONTRIBUTOR

ssinghapattanapong@media.ucla.edu

DreamWorks co-founder David Geffen’s donation of $200
million in “unrestricted” funds to the UCLA School of
Medicine on Tuesday marks the largest donation to the University of
California ever.

“UCLA is delighted by this historic and munificent
gift,” Chancellor Albert Carnesale said in a statement.
“Mr. Geffen exemplifies the spirit of humanitarian
giving.”

Geffen’s gift will trigger the medical school to change
its name to the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and will
provide administrators with a more flexible budget.

Currently, only 13 percent of the school’s funding comes
from the state, leaving it to rely on private donations to meet the
rest of its needs.

Geffen’s donation is rare due to its
“unrestricted” nature, which means administrators can
use the money for projects or areas as they see fit rather than for
specified purposes as set forth by the donor, said Dr. Gerald
Levey, dean of the school.

Unrestricted money is “the hardest money to come by”
and highly treasured by researchers and institutions because of its
flexible nature, Levey said.

Examples of what the $200 million may be used for include
research for gene therapy and supporting medical scientist
programs.

Geffen, the entertainment executive and philanthropist who
donated $5 million to the UCLA Geffen Playhouse several years ago
and millions more to AIDS organizations, could not be reached for
comment.

He hopes his gift will better equip UCLA’s doctors and
researchers to “unravel medicine’s mysteries,”
Geffen said in a statement, adding that he has great respect and
affection for the university.

MAIYA HOLLIDAY/Daily Bruin David Geffen, the name behind the
UCLA Geffen Playhouse, donated $200 million to the UCLA School of
Medicine, making it the largest donation to a UC.

The purpose of his donation is to support one of “the most
innovative medical schools in the world” and to inspire
others to do the same, Geffen stated.

Though Geffen’s gift is unrestricted, the money will not
be used to fund the construction of the Medical Center, since
funding for the new hospital is moving along well, Levey said.

Talks of the gift were made more than a year ago, with the
donation process reinitiated and finalized quickly in the past five
weeks, Levey said.

Geffen’s donation surpassed UC San Francisco’s
$101.3 million gift from Catellus Development Corporation in
1999.