The 24 Top Philanthropists in Pennsylvania

A look at who's behind more than $200 million in donations in 2014.

Clockwise from top left: John (Jack) Drosdick, Michael and Wendy Saltzburg, Ben Roethlisberger, Henry Hillman, Brook Lenfest, Nydick, Keith and Katherine Sachs.

Clockwise from top left: John (Jack) Drosdick, Michael and Wendy Saltzburg, Ben Roethlisberger, Henry Hillman, Brook Lenfest, Robert L. Nydick, Keith and Katherine Sachs | Photo illustration: Alyse Moyer

“No one has ever become poor from giving,” wrote Anne Frank in her diary. That is certainly true of these immensely wealthy Pennsylvanians, who collectively handed out hundreds of millions of dollars in charitable donations in 2014. Here, a look at some of the biggest individual donations, the recipients of the largesse, and the people behind it all, with data provided by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Keith L. and Katherine Sachs

Gift Value: $70 million
Recipient: The Philadelphia Museum of Art
Residence: Rydal, Montgomery County
Keith Sachs, the former CEO of Horsham-based Saxco International, and his wife, Katherine, gave their collection of contemporary art to the museum, where he has been a trustee since 1988. The collection — one of the most important of its kind in the country — has been valued at $70 million and includes close to 100 works from the likes of Ellsworth Kelly and Jasper Johns. Both graduates of the University of Pennsylvania, the Sachs donated $2.5 million to Penn for its design school in 2011.

Thomas Kline

Gift Value: $50 million
Recipient: Drexel University
Residence: Center City
Drexel’s law school is already named after Kline, founding partner of personal injury firm Specter & Kline, and the $50 million gift is being earmarked to create the Institute of Trial Advocacy, which will also be named after him. Kline has amassed huge judgments and settlements on behalf of his clients, like a $51 million verdict against SEPTA for a 4-year-old boy whose foot was ripped off by an escalator; Kline also represented Victim Number 5 in the Jerry Sandusky case. He’s a recreational squash player and bowler and a huge Bob Dylan fan, having presented a seminar about Dylan’s lyrics and the law.

George and Kathleen White

Gift Value: $15 million
Recipient: Point Park University, Pittsburgh
Residence: Pittsburgh
This gift, which the university received in 2014, was actually a bequest. George, a former Xerox executive, died in 2012, while his wife, an electrical engineer, died one year later.

The Harron Family

Gift Value: $10 million
Recipient: University of Pennsylvania
Residence: Malvern
Paul Harron made his fortune off of cable television, long before Comcast dominated the market. After being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2005, he wound up at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, where he met Penn doc John Hansen-Flaschen. Harron asked the doctor what he was passionate about, and the doctor told him that he had always wanted to open a lung center. Harron died shortly thereafter, and nearly a decade later, Harron’s family gave this $10 million gift to Penn to create the Harron Lung Center. Harron’s father was an owner of the old Atlantic City Race Course and opened Center City’s Vesper Club in 1941.

Nicholas and Athena Karabots

Gift Value: $10 million
Recipient: The Franklin Institute
Residence: Ft. Washington
Nicholas Karabots has come a long way from being a member of a gang in the South Bronx. Now 81, Karabots is the head of a bunch of private companies — including the largest publisher of puzzle magazines and books in the country — and, along with his wife, Athena, owns a winery. (They’ve been married for 59 years.) In 2011, after being impressed by the work that the Franklin Institute does with children, the pair announced that they would be donating $10 million. In 2014, the 53,000-square-foot Karabots Pavilion debuted there. Also in 2014, they donated $7.5 million to Einstein Healthcare Network. And in 2007, they threw in $7 million to keep Thomas Eakins’ “The Gross Clinic” in Philadelphia.

Richard P. Simmons

Gift Value: $7.5 million
Recipient: Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh
Residence: Allegheny County and Palm Beach
Simmons is the retired chairman of Allegheny Technologies, a specialty metals company in Pittsburgh. He received an honorary doctorate from Carnegie Mellon in 2012 (he gave $5 million to the school in 2007), and his 2014 gift of $7.5 million will be used to build a new auditorium. In 2006, his family pledged $29.5 million to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Brook Lenfest

Gift Value: $7 million
Recipient: Penn State
Residence: Haverford
The 46-year-old son of former cable television mogul Gerry Lenfest pledged $7 million to create a scholarship for Philadelphia public school students who want to attend Penn State. Lenfest is the CEO of Lansdale-based Internet company NetCarrier. In 2014, he announced plans to build two luxury hotels in Center City.

Raymond Perelman

Gift Value: $6 million*
Recipient: Drexel University
Residence: Philadelphia and Palm Beach
Now 97, the patriarch of the feuding Perelmans knows he can’t take it with him. In 2014, he pledged $6 million to Drexel for a new Center for Jewish Life, which is scheduled to open in 2016. That’s after he gave $5 million to the school in 2012 for a plaza bearing his name. But that’s all chump change compared to the $50 million he just gave to CHOP in January.

Henry Hillman

Gift Value: $5 million
Recipient: Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh
Residence: Pittsburgh
At 96, Hillman is one of the oldest billionaires in the world. The industrialist gave $5 million to the school to fund research into the brain and behavior.

James and Charlotte O’Donnell

Gift Value: $5 million
Recipient: Villanova University
Residence: Wayne
James O’Donnell is the retired CEO of American Eagle Outfitters. He graduated from Villanova in 1963 with a degree in economics, an area he obviously knows a lot about.

Verna Orcurto Canova

Gift Value: $3.5 million
Recipient: Cedar Crest College, Allentown
Residence: Allentown
The philanthropist and lifelong Allentowner left $3.5 million to the school in her will when she died in 2013.

Paul O’Neill

Gift Value: $3 million
Recipient: Indiana University, Bloomington
Residence: Pittsburgh
After getting his master’s degree in public affairs from the school back in the 1960s, O’Neill went on to become the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury under George W. Bush (he was fired for disagreeing with the prez over Iraq and spoke out on 60 Minutes), chief executive of Alcoa, and chairman of the RAND Corporation. His gift was the largest in the school’s history.

John (Jack) Drosdick

Gift Value: $2.5 million
Recipient: Villanova University
Residence: Bryn Mawr
Now 81, Drosdick was the head of Sunoco until 2008. He got his B.S. in chemical engineering from Villanova, and his gift will fund a new Engineering Innovation Lab at Villanova’s College of Engineering. Drosdick and his wife, Gloria, have also thrown financial support at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Rodin Museum.

The Nydick Family

Gift Value: $2 million
Recipient: Villanova University
Residence: Ambler
Not many professors can afford to drop $2 million on the school where they teach, but that’s exactly what longtime Villanova business professor Robert Nydick (and his family) have done. The money will fund the Nydick Family Business Analytics Fund and the Nydick Family Commons at Villanova.

John and Willie Leone

Gift Value: $2 million
Recipient: Penn State University
Residence: Bethlehem
John Leone, a steel tycoon, went to Penn State back in the 1950s. After Willie died in 2013, John pledged $2 million to the school to create the John and Willie Leone Family Strength and Conditioning Center and to increase the Willie Leone Endowed Scholarship Fund in Music Theatre. The couple also pledged $5 million back in 2010.

Joseph and Marion Wesley

Gift Value: $2 million
Recipient: The Pennington School, New Jersey
Residence: Newtown
Bucks County’s Joseph Wesley made his many millions as the founder of AmQuip Corporation, a Trevose-based company that rents out cranes and other big equipment. He and his wife decided to give $2 million to New Jersey’s prestigious Pennington School, which has schooled all 10 of their grandchildren. The gift was part of Pennington’s capital campaign, but hopefully some of it was set aside for scholarships, since middle school tuition is more than $32,000 each year.

John Brace Latham

Gift Value: $1.1 million
Recipient: The Academy at Charlemont, Massachusetts
Residence: Lancaster
The “Brace” in his name is a nod to onetime publishing conglomerate Harcourt, Brace, and Howe. Latham was a descendant of co-founder Donald Brace, which is where Latham got most of his money. Latham died in 2012, bequeathing $1.1 million to this New England prep school. Latham was friends with the school’s founder.

Ben Roethlisberger

Gift Value: $1 million
Recipient: Miami University, Ohio
Residence: Allegheny County
Yes, as in the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback with the troubled personal life and a history of sexual assault allegations. Roethlisberger made over $12 million in 2014 and gave $1 million of it to the school where he got his start. The donation is for Miami U’s new Indoor Sports Center, where there is going to be a 120-yard “Ben Roethlisberger Field.” The school is known as one of the “best” party schools in the country.

The Hanna Family

Gift Value: $1 million
Recipient: University of Pittsburgh
Residence: Allegheny County
University of Pittsburgh graduate Howard Hanna took a $60 investment and turned it into a gigantic real estate company, with 170 offices in eight states. He and his family (four of his grandkids are Pitt grads) are giving back with a $1 million contribution to the school to provide financial assistance to business students.

James and Susan Antoniono

Gift Value: $1 million
Recipient: Penn State University
Residence: Westmoreland County
Penn Stater James Antoniono, a lawyer, and his wife, Susan, gave $1 million to his alma mater to fund a variety of programs in the school’s College of Liberal Arts, including a Paterno Liberal Arts Undergraduate Fellows Program.

Michael and Jane Rice

Gift Value: $1 million
Recipient: Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore
Residence: Adams County
Michael Rice is the owner of the Hanover-based Utz Quality Foods snack company. His wife, Jane, is a breast cancer survivor and was treated at Johns Hopkins in Maryland, hence the gift of $1 million to Johns Hopkins’ Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. Utz is chipping in another mil.

Michael and Wendy Saltzburg

Gift Value: $1 million
Recipient: Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Residence: Altoona and Stone Harbor
Michael Saltzburg, an orthopedic surgeon, went to PCOM back in the 1970s, and one of the couple’s children attends the school now. The gift will establish an endowment for PCOM’s clinical learning and assessment center. Michael is also a poker player and pocketed over $150,000 in a World Series of Poker in 2012. The Saltzburgs live primarily in Stone Harbor, but the business is in Altoona.

Rodney and Shari Erickson

Gift Value: $1 million
Recipient: Penn Statue University
Residence: State College
Rodney Erickson is no stranger to Penn State. He started out as a professor there decades ago, became an administrator in 1995, and was named president of the school in 2011 in the wake of Graham Spanier’s forced resignation thanks to the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Erickson resigned in 2014, the same year he and his wife donated $1 million, half of which will be used for the school’s arboretum and half to create a professorship.

Robert and Penny Fox

Gift Value: $1 million
Recipient: Drexel University
Residence: Jenkintown
Robert Fox is the chairman and CEO of Jenkintown-based private equity firm RAF Industries. It seems to have served him pretty well. Fox and his wife, Penny, gave $1 million to Drexel in 2014 for the school’s historic costume collection (?!), $5 million to the University of Pennsylvania the year before, and $2 million to Moore College in 2011.

Some non-Pennsylvanians also made significant philanthropic contributions to the region. Below, a quick look at those gifts of $5 million or more:

Sidney and Caroline KimmelFlorida$110,000,000Thomas Jefferson University
Howard LutnickNew York$25,000,000Haverford College
Nina von MaltzahnUruguay$10,000,000Curtis Institute of Music
Scott and Wendy KleinmanNew York$10,000,000University of Pennsylvania
James and Susan SwartzUtah$10,000,000Carnegie Mellon University
The Jaharis FamilyIllinois$10,000,000*Haverford College
Larry RobbinsNew York$7,500,000University of Pennsylvania
Fred BurchfieldOhio$7,375,000Shriners Hospital (Erie)
Robert MoranArizona$7,000,000Villanova University
David LehmanColorado$5,000,000Franklin & Marshall College
Marc and Sheree HollidayNew York$5,000,000Lehigh University
James and Anahita LovelaceCalifornia$5,000,000Swarthmore College
Jon and Mindy GrayNew York$5,000,000University of Pennsylvania

Note: These lists do not include corporate donations. In some cases, the gifts may represent pledges. In other cases, the gifts may have been paid out to the recipients over a series of years.

*A previous version of this story did not include Raymond Perelman or the Jaharis family, because those gifts had not been reported to the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

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Photo credits, clockwise from top left: John Drosdick photo courtesy of Villanova University; Michael and Wendy Saltzburg photo courtesy of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine; Ben Roethlisberger photo via s_bukley/; Henry Hillman photo courtesy of Carnegie Mellon University; Brook Lenfest photo courtesy of Brook Lenfest; Robert L. Nydick photo courtesy of Villanova University; Keith L. and Katherine Sachs photo via Constance Mensh/Philadelphia Museum of Art.