News and analysis
February 06, 2011

No. 25: Lee G. and Jane H. Seidman

Lee G. and Jane H. Seidman

Amount donated in 2010: $42-million

Beneficiary: University Hospitals

Donors’ background: Mr. Seidman is the retired founder of the Motorcars Group, a chain of automobile dealerships, in Cleveland.

Mr. Seidman, 79, and his wife, Jane, 70, pledged $42-million to University Hospitals, in Cleveland, for its cancer center, which the organization has named the University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center.

The Seidmans’ connection to University Hospitals goes back to their infancies; they were both born there.

The gift also continues a change in their philosophy of giving that they made several years ago. In previous years, said Mr. Seidman, the couple rarely declined requests for charitable donations, making small gifts to many types of charities.

But after Mr. Seidman retired in 2000, the couple started devoting more time to their philanthropy. In 2005 they began taking courses through the Wealth and Giving Forum, a New York group, which advises wealthy philanthropists, and over time they came to believe they could make a greater difference if they concentrated their giving in larger amounts and in one or two geographic areas or on one or two nonprofits.

To that end, they chose to focus the bulk of their giving in Cleveland, where they grew up, and designated University Hospitals and the Cleveland Clinic as the beneficiaries of the bulk of their philanthropy. They pledged $17-million to the Cleveland Clinic in 2007 and another $6-million in 2009.

Mr. and Mrs. Seidman paid $12-million toward their pledge in 2010. The couple did not place any restrictions on the gift as long as it is directed toward the cancer center.

—Maria Di Mento

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