News and analysis
February 10, 2013

No. 40 (tied): Helen Gurley Brown

Mark Lennihan/AP Images

Helen Gurley Brown

Amount donated in 2012: $30-million

Top beneficiary: Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

Other notable gift: $12-million to the Stanford School of Engineering

Background: Ms. Gurley Brown was the editor of Cosmopolitan magazine from 1965 to 1996 and wrote several books including the 1962 best seller, Sex and the Single Girl.

Ms. Gurley Brown, who was 90 when she died in August, gave $18-million to Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and $12-million to the Stanford School of Engineering to establish the David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation at both universities. The money will endow a post for the director of the institute and support graduate and postgraduate fellowships and grant-making programs.

Through the new institute, the two universities will collaborate to develop projects that combine technology and journalism.

Her husband, David Brown, a former journalist and a film and theater producer, was a graduate of Stanford and of Columbia’s journalism school, and it was through him that Ms. Brown became involved with the two universities. The Browns were longtime donors to both institutions before Mr. Brown’s death in 2010.

Send an e-mail to Maria Di Mento.