News and analysis
February 06, 2012

No. 31: David C. and Joan R. Lincoln

David C. and Joan R. Lincoln

Amount donated in 2011: $44-million

Biggest beneficiary: Claremont School of Theology

Donors’ background: Mr. Lincoln founded the Lincoln Laser Company and a real-estate business in Phoenix. He is an heir to the Lincoln Electric Company fortune, the Cleveland manufacturer of welding equipment that his family founded in 1895.

Mr. Lincoln, and his wife, Joan, pledged $40-million to Claremont School of Theology, in Calif., to establish Claremont Lincoln University, a consortium of graduate schools designed to educate religious leaders of various faiths, while also providing a common curriculum focused on building understanding across religious, intellectual, and cultural differences. A payment schedule for the pledge was not available.

Under the interreligious Claremont Lincoln University umbrella, the Claremont School of Theology will remain a seminary of the United Methodist Church, and master’s and Ph.D. programs will be offered by two outside institutions: the Academy for Jewish Religion, California, and the Islamic Center of Southern California. University officials said they plan eventually to add graduate programs from other religious schools as well.

Mr. Lincoln is the chairman of the Claremont Lincoln University and has served on the Claremont School of Theology’s Board of Trustees since 2003. The couple gave $10-million toward the new interreligious university in 2010.

The Lincolns also pledged $4-million last year to the John C. Lincoln Health Foundation, in Phoenix, to renovate the John C. Lincoln North Mountain Hospital’s lobby. The hospital was named for Mr. Lincoln’s late father; his late mother, Helen, founded the nonprofit that eventually led to the building of the hospital in 1951. David Lincoln serves on the foundation’s Board of Directors.

—Maria Di Mento

View more profiles of donors who gave the most in 2011