Friday, November 24

Billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian’s nine-figure donation to UCLA will create “Dream Fund” to support core goals of research and academics


Evan Luxenberg

UCLA has received a $200 million donation to create a fund that will support university operations and stimulate further philanthropy.

The gift comes from a private charity founded by 93-year-old billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian. The Lincy Foundation has given more than $70 million to UCLA over the past 13 years.

Typically, past donations from the foundation have been anonymous, said Patty Glaser, Kerkorian’s attorney. Kerkorian’s decision to go public comes in light of UCLA’s budgetary woes.

He hopes to set an example for other philanthropists, Glaser said.

“This is a time when people need to step up to the plate,” she said.

The Lincy Foundation will dissolve after transferring all of its assets to UCLA, establishing a “Dream Fund” to be managed by the university and community members.

$100 million from this fund will go toward academic programming and research on the UCLA campus. The other half of the gift will be distributed to charities of the university’s choice.

This move is a show of confidence, said Lincy Foundation President Jay Rakow. The foundation is “very happy” with UCLA’s use of charitable donations to benefit the community, he said.

The closure of the foundation and the transfer of funds must be approved by the state attorney general. No timeline has been set on when this will happen, Rakow said.

The Dream Fund is intended to inspire more philanthropy by encouraging outside donors to increase the size of the fund.

In an interview with the Daily Bruin Editorial Board on Friday, Chancellor Gene Block said more gifts with student and scholarship components will be announced in the coming months.

Block also pointed to a need for more outside revenue to run UCLA. Fundraising initiatives are falling short of university goals, and private donors are one of the leading sources to supplement declining state support, he said.

UCLA has seen two nine-figure gifts in the past three weeks, in line with the university’s active involvement in soliciting philanthropy, said Rhea Turteltaub, vice chancellor for external affairs.

The largest donation in UCLA’s history was David Geffen’s $200 million endowment in 2002.

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