News and analysis
February 06, 2011

No. 15: Henry C. Woods Jr. and Jane C. Woods

Henry C. Woods Jr.

Amount donated in 2010: $67-million

Biggest beneficiary: Lawrenceville School

Other key beneficiary: North Shore Country Day School

Donors’ background: Mr. Woods taught English literature and was an heir to the Sahara Coal Company fortune. The Chicago company is now an investment-holdings firm.

Mr. Woods, who was 84 when he died in 2005, and his wife, Jane, who was 87 when she died in 2007, left $58.5-million to the Lawrenceville School, a private high school in New Jersey. The couple placed no restrictions on the gift. School officials say they plan to use the money primarily for financial aid and faculty salaries. Mr. Woods graduated from the school in 1940 and returned in 1952 to teach English. He was chairman of the school’s English department from 1978 to 1986, the year he retired. He served on Lawrenceville’s Board of Trustees from 1989 to 1995.

In addition, the couple bequeathed $8.5-million to the North Shore Country Day School, a private school in Winnetka, Ill. Ms. Woods graduated from the school in 1937.

Mr. Woods’s family has a long history of philanthropy. His grandparents, Frank H. Woods Sr. and Nelle Cochrane Woods, founded the Woods Charitable Fund, a private family foundation in Lincoln, Neb. in 1941. Henry’s father, Frank Woods Jr., of Chicago, and Henry’s Uncle, Thomas Woods, of Lincoln, later led the foundation through the 1970s and 1980s, and Henry’s father was instrumental in the development of the Council on Foundations. When Frank Jr. and Thomas died in 1980 and 1989, respectively, the foundation went through a period of change and was later split into two organizations, the Woods Charitable Fund and the Woods Fund of Chicago.— Caroline Bermudez

View more profiles of donors who gave the most in 2010.