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NYC’s Columbia U Rakes in $1B in Donations; Tops NY Nonprofit List

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In a new study, Columbia University has been named the number 1, richest non-profit in New York, receiving the most donations last year. Photo Credit: Columbia.edu

By: Ilana Siyance

In a new study, Columbia University has been named the number 1, richest non-profit in New York, receiving the most donations last year. The private Ivy League college raked in $1 billion in cash donations in 2018, making it the ninth largest donation recipient in all the United States, as per the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s new list of the country’s 100 favorite charities.

The Upper West Side University, established in 1754, is the oldest institution of higher education in New York, and the fifth oldest in the nation. As reported by the NY Post, a large chunk of its donations came from the estate of Florence and Herbert Irving. He was the co-founder of Sysco Corp, who passed away in 2016 at the age of 98. In 2017, his family announced a $700 million gift to the Columbia University and its affiliated hospital, New York-Presbyterian Medical Center. Another notably generous donor was Columbia graduate Dr. P. Roy Vagelos, formerly the CEO of Merck, who announced a $250 million donation in 2017 for Columbia’s medical school, together with his wife Diana Vagelos.

The Chronicle’s new list, which is based on the dollar amount of donations, also named close to two-dozen other New York non-profits as among the richest in the country. The second place spot for NY’s richest nonprofit was given to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Manhattan-based organization received $594 million in donations last year, a 23 percent increase from the year before. The next spots for NY were filled respectively by: Cornell University raking in $507 million, NYU receiving $501 million, and Unicef in fifth place getting $446 million.

Overall, donations to public universities increased by 21 percent, with private colleges seeing a four percent increase. Though Cornell and New York University were still among the top five NY recipients, the organizations each saw a drop in their donations last year, falling 32 percent and 11 percent respectively.

Other top-ten New York non-profit recipients included: the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; Doctors Without Borders; Memorial Sloan Kettering; American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee; and in the 10th spot the International Rescue Committee.

The list, which only calculated cash and stock contributions, excluding government grants or donated products, named Virginia-based United Way Worldwide as the top richest nonprofit in the Country. Established in 1887, this is the second year that the network which collects for multiple health and welfare agencies was ranked first in “America’s Favorite Charities”. It received $3 billion in contributions last year.

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