PHILANTHROPY: Christmas Bonus

In faculty rooms, hospital wards and medical schools there was cause for more than the usual seasonal jubilation. This week the Ford Foundation announced that it is making a vast grant to private institutions all over the U.S. and its territories. Its total: $500 million. The huge Christmas bonus is the largest outlay by a private foundation in the history of philanthropy. It also makes the 20-year-old Ford Foundation—already the preeminent U.S. philanthropic organization, worth $2.5 billion—several light-years ahead of the field.

Three-Way Split. The half-billion-dollar melon will be split three ways:...

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