The New Philanthropy

Better Reading for $100 Million

When Jim Barksdale started school in Jackson, Miss., he had trouble learning to read. In the third grade he still stumbled over simple words. So his parents got him a private tutor, and that changed his life. He became a good student and later an exceptional corporate leader. When he sold Netscape, he pocketed $700 million. Last week he brought a big chunk of that money back to his home state.

Barksdale, 56, and his wife Sally gave $100 million to their alma mater, the University of Mississippi, to promote reading in the state that ranks last in literacy (a third...

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