By:  | 

Donation to Einstein Ranks Sixth in all Gifts in 2013

Every year, The Chronicle of Philanthropy compiles a list of the top donations in America. Announced last month, the list included some familiar names – Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg donated almost one billion dollars to a charity that focuses on community issues in his region. One donation, a $160 million bequest by the late real estate heiress Mrs. Muriel Block to Yeshiva University’s Einstein College of Medicine, clocked in at number six nationwide.

In April of last year, Dr. Allen M. Spiegel, Dean of Albert Einstein College of medicine, announced the start of the school’s largest fundraising campaign in its 60-year history: “The Campaign to Transform Einstein,” a concentrated effort to raise $500 million. In his announcement, Spiegel declared that the late Muriel Block had bequeathed a donation upwards of $160 million. “Muriel’s bequest—the largest gift in the College of Medicine’s nearly 60-year history—will greatly augment Einstein’s capacity to advance its mission to improve human health,” said Spiegel. “The gift will support important areas of research and has become the centerpiece of Einstein’s ambitious $500 million capital campaign.”

At the time of her death in 2010, Mrs. Block was considered to be one of Einstein’s most generous benefactors, donating almost $22 million in 2003 towards the construction of a new research facility – then the second-largest donation the school had ever received. “I considered Muriel a friend and partner in my work as dean of Einstein,” said Spiegel. “From our many conversations over the years, it was very clear that she derived great personal satisfaction from her ability to make a difference in helping to improve the human condition. She clearly had the vision to do something that would have far-reaching consequences and had great confidence in Einstein as an institution. Her final gesture of extraordinary generosity will have a terrific impact on our work.”

The bestowment, given in the name of Mrs. Block and her late husband Harold Block, will “significantly advance the College of Medicine’s goal of improving human health.” The money will be used to build “a new educational center for experimental therapeutics to develop novel treatments for unmet medical needs, personalized medicine, and genome sequencing, giving investigators the ability to evaluate the causes of a wide range of known diseases.”

“Gifts from Muriel Block and our other dedicated supporters…accelerate the paths to discovery, and yield measurable improvements in people’s lives,” concluded Dr. Spiegel.