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Florida, Tampa Bay still suffer from philanthropy sent 'back home'

Barring an end-of-year surprise, the $12 million commitment from Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel to transform a University of South Florida graduate program in Tampa into USF's College of Global Sustainability should be the top act of philanthropy in Tampa Bay in 2012.

It's an impressive gift, one of many the Patel couple has provided to the university, a nearby hospital and other area recipients. Their $12 million gift is the fourth largest given to any Florida organization this year, according to data kept by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, which tracks giving in America.

Nationwide, though, the Patel gift lands about 85th in size in the 2012 ranks of U.S. philanthropy. That's not to undermine such generosity. But it is a reminder that, while Florida is about to become the nation's third largest state in population, its institutions of all kinds remain modest recipients of philanthropy compared to those in wealthier states.

Once again, much of the philanthropy practiced by rich Florida residents — who inevitably moved here from somewhere else — continues to go "back home" to out-of-state universities, medical facilities and various cultural organizations.

Few, if any other, large states seem to wrestle on such a scale with such transient giving.

But few other large states have such a striking lack of major corporate headquarters as Florida. Big corporations and their founders/CEOs tend to be the nation's primary source of big dollar giving. Think Bill Gates and Microsoft, Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway, and Phil Knight and Nike, among many others.

Let's slice the numbers on 2012 giving in Florida:

• The top five donors (from any U.S. state) to Florida recipients gave or pledged a total of $102 million this year

• The top five Florida residents donated $129.5 million this year. But only $72 million went to Florida institutions, while $57.5 million was given to organizations in other states.

• Nationwide, the top five philanthropists in 2012 gave or pledged $3.575 billion. That's almost 50 times what Florida's five top givers donated to in-state institutions.

Consider that New York is getting $925 million this year from the five top givers to that state. The state of Washington gets $310 million. California's getting $230 million from its top five givers. Oregon gets $292 million.

Texas had an off year, getting only $78 million despite its size, mammoth corporate base and in-state wealth from the energy industry.

Next year may be different.

Beyond the Patels' philanthropy to USF, nobody came close with big gifts in 2012 in this metro area. Bill and Hazel Hough's $2 million gift to the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg ranked as the next biggest contribution, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Kiran Patel's wealth was built on his buying and growing WellCare into a national Medicaid HMO, then selling it in 2002. Bill Hough started his own municipal bond and investment business in St. Petersburg called William R. Hough & Co. and sold it in 2004 to RBC Dain Rauscher, part of the Royal Bank of Canada.

Earlier this year, the Florida Aquarium was expecting a $1 million donation from Publix's founding family, but came away with more than double that after two anonymous donors added to the gift. The expansion paid for from these gifts and others would be the first in 17 years for the Channel District aquarium. Last year, the Mosaic Co., a major fertilizer business, donated $2.5 million to the campaign, the largest single donation in the aquarium's history.

In the Tampa Bay area and amid a deep recession and slow recovery, USF clearly enjoys being the biggest recipient of recent philanthropy. In addition to the Patel gift in 2012, USF received $20 million in 2011 from retired Tampa automotive dealer Frank and Carol Morsani, whose name will become part of the university's medical school.

Also enjoying substantial donations in recent years is Tampa-based Shriner's International, Saint Leo University in Pasco County as well as All Children's Hospital and the Canterbury School in St. Petersburg.

Five years ago, Texas banker (and melanoma survivor) Don Adam, who started American Momentum Bank in Tampa, pledged $20.4 million to Tampa's H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute for the creation of the Donald A. Adam Comprehensive Melanoma Research Center.

Kudos to such philanthropic generosity. Here's to promoting a stronger, bigger base of business in the Tampa Bay area. Building more of the local wealth will encourage greater and more frequent giving right here.

Contact Robert Trigaux at

Who gave most to Florida institutions in 2012?

1 The estate of Mary N. Porter, who died in 2009, gave $40 million to her local Community Foundation of Broward County to help area charities. Her father was a business partner of Robert Smith, who co-founded the Mrs. Smith's pie company.

2 Tom Golisano, founder of Paychex and a resident of Naples, pledged $20 million in matching funds to help expand The Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida in Fort Myers. The expansion will be named after Golisano.

3 Martin Margulies, Key Biscayne developer, committed $20 million to Miami's Lotus House, a domestic violence shelter.

4 . Kiran and Pallavi Patel, both Tampa area doctors, agreed to give $12 million to the University of South Florida to create the College of Global Sustainability. So far, the couple has donated $26 million over the years to USF.

5 J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver of Jacksonville donated $10 million to Baptist Health in Jacksonville. A new tower in their name begins providing surgical services in December. The couple once owned the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL football team.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Who are 2012's top philanthropists in Tampa Bay?

1 Kiran and Pallavi Patel, $12 million to the University of South Florida.

2 . William R. and Hazel Hough gave $2 million for the endowment and hiring of a contemporary art curator at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg. The Houghs contributed generously to help fund the 2008 Hazel Hough Wing of the museum. And William Hough earlier gave $30 million to the University of Florida, where he studied business.

3 Lakeland's Carol Jenkins Barnett, chairman and president of Publix Super Markets Charities, and Publix vice chairman Barney Barnett gave $1 million to the Florida Aquarium in Tampa to create the Carol and Barney Barnett Learning Center. It will feature five themed classrooms with integrated technology and live animal habitats. Aquarium officials said the Barnett gift spurred at least $2 million more in donations from anonymous givers.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

America's top 5 donors of 2012

1 .Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway in Omaha, Neb., pledged shares of Berkshire Hathaway class "B" stock worth just over $2 billion to be split three ways, with $685 million going to each of his three children's foundations: the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, which fights poverty; Susan Buffett's Sherwood Foundation, which supports social justice and early-childhood education; and Peter Buffett's NoVo Foundation, which seeks to improve the lives of women and girls.

2 William E. Conway Jr. of Virginia, co-founder of the Carlyle Group private equity firm, pledged $1 billion to help the poor in the Washington, D.C., area get education and training to find jobs.

3 Paul Allen, who co-founded Microsoft Corp. with Bill Gates, pledged $300 million over four years to his Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle to expand its research programs.

4 The estate of Fred W. Fields, former president of Coe Manufacturing Co. in Tigard, Ore., donated $150 million to the Oregon Community Foundation in Portland to establish the Fields Fund to support education and the arts. He died in December 2011.

5 Philip H. and Penelope Knight pledged $125 million over five years to Portland's Oregon Health & Science University to establish an institute for cardiovascular research and care. Phil Knight co-founded Nike in Beaverton, Ore.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Florida, Tampa Bay still suffer from philanthropy sent 'back home' 11/10/12 [Last modified: Saturday, November 10, 2012 3:31am]
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