News and analysis
February 06, 2012

No. 6: Raymond G. and Ruth C. Perelman

Raymond G. and Ruth C. Perelman

Amount donated in 2011: $227.3-million

Biggest beneficiary: University of Pennsylvania

Donors’ background: Mr. Perelman is chairman of RGP Holdings, which owns businesses in finance, manufacturing, and mining.

Mr. Perelman, 94, and his wife, Ruth, who was 90 when she died last summer, pledged $225-million to the University of Pennsylvania to endow the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine. The Perelmans placed no restrictions on how the money should be used. University officials have said they plan to hire more medical researchers and faculty members and increase financial aid for medical students. A payment schedule for the pledge was not available.

Mr. Perelman serves on the medical school’s Board of Trustees and graduated from the university’s Wharton School in 1940. The couple, who announced this pledge several months before Mrs. Perelman died, gave the university $25-million in 2005 for the Ruth and Raymond Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine. Mr. Perelman said he and his wife began learning more about the health-care system and the needs of the medical profession after they gave the 2005 donation. He told The Chronicle that the couple decided to pledge the $225-million to the medical school because of their concerns about the American health-care system and the demands of the new law to overhaul it.

“I now see what modern medicine can do for patients, how much better it is today. To keep it going in the right direction, we have to have more doctors over the next couple of years,” he said. “They’ll be better trained and will help more people.”

The couple also pledged nearly $1.3-million to the National Museum of American Jewish History for the Philadelphia institution’s new building. Mr. Perelman serves as a museum trustee. In addition, they pledged $600,000, of which $100,000 has been paid, to the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, in Miami; and they gave $100,000 to each of four nonprofits: American Friends of Israel Museum, in New York; Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, Perelman Jewish Day School, in Wynnewood, Pa.; and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Perelmans also gave $50,000 to the Cleveland Clinic.

—Maria Di Mento

View more profiles of donors who gave the most in 2011