In what is thought to be the biggest donation Harvard University has received in its nearly 400-year-history, a Hong Kong based philanthropic foundation has expressed its desire to donate a staggering $350 million to the university. Harvard University’s 100-year-old School Of Public Health is receiving a grant of $350 million from the Morningside Foundation, the university announced.
A Reuters report states the donation is unrestricted in nature and is being provided to offer increased financial aid for deserving students at Harvard, loan forgiveness for graduates who work in underserved areas and new classrooms. The donation would also help seed money for various research projects.
According to Julio Fenk, the dean at the Harvard School of Public Health, there would be four primary areas where the gift from the Morningside foundation will support research and training. Research in medical field and pandemics – like Ebola and Malaria, which put a large population at risk, Environmental health risks, poverty and failing health systems across the globe.
The Morningside Foundation is based out of Hong Kong and was established by Dr, Ronnie and Gerald Chan, reports ABC News. They inherited their wealth from their father T.H. Chan,f who is the founder of the Hang Lung Group Ltd, which happens to be one of Hong Kong’s largest real estate companies. The Morningside foundation was founded in 1986 after the death of their father. The group has in the past made several private equity and venture capital investments in several biotech and technology-based startups. The brothers who run the foundation are among the richest people in Hong Kong and have a combined net worth of $2.95 billion.
Gerald Chan, who is an alumnus of Harvard later said in an interview that his time at the Harvard School of Public Health was “transformative” and that it was his time there when he learned “science can be put into action for the improvement of human health.”
Prior to this $350 million, the biggest gift that Harvard received was worth $150 million earlier this year from hedge fund manager and alumnus Kenneth Griffin.
That said, the grant to Harvard University pales in comparison to the largest donation received by Johns Hopkins University which received $1.1 billion from Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City.
In recognition of the donation from the Hong Kong based brothers, the school of public health would be renamed to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
[Image Via Wikimedia Commons]