News and analysis
February 06, 2011

No. 4: Irwin M. and Joan K. Jacobs

Zuma Press/Newscom

Irwin M. and Joan K. Jacobs

Amount donated in 2010: $119.5-million

Biggest beneficiary: University of California at San Diego Health System

Other key beneficiary: Joan and Irwin Jacobs Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego

Donors’ background: Mr. Jacobs co-founded Qualcomm, a wireless-communications company in San Diego.

Mr. Jacobs, 77, and his wife, Joan, 78, pledged $75-million to the University of California at San Diego Health System, in La Jolla, to build a new medical center, which will be named for the couple.

Of the total committed, Mr. and Mrs. Jacobs have paid $10-million toward the pledge and plan to pay the remainder in $10-million annual increments through 2015. They will then pay $12-million in 2016 and the last $3-million in 2017. The Jacobses stipulated in their agreement with the university that specific construction benchmarks, such as the completion of preliminary floor plans, steel framing, and other developments, must be met for the institution to receive each annual payment.

In addition, the couple gave $39.1-million to their Joan and Irwin Jacobs Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego, where Mrs. Jacobs serves as vice chairwoman of the organization’s Board of Directors. Through this fund, the Jacobses awarded several grants last year, including a $6-million grant to the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, in La Jolla, Calif., for a professorship in genomics and another in neuroscience as well as grants to the American Civil Liberties Union, in New York; KPBS San Diego, a public-broadcasting group; and other nonprofits. Mr. Jacobs serves as chairman of the Board of Trustees at the Salk Institute.

Mr. and Mrs. Jacobs also made many smaller gifts last year, including $5-million to the San Diego Symphony for its endowment; $320,000 to the Dunaway Foundation, a philanthropy the Jacobses recently established in San Diego; and a total of $70,694 to other groups. Mrs. Jacobs is chairwoman of the symphony foundation’s Board of Directors.

—Maria Di Mento

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