University of Southern California is in the midst of campus expansion and is set to open a new space called USC Village in 2017. The "village" will combine residential, academic, recreational and retail space. A recent $30 milion gift from the Thomas & Dorothy Leavey Foundation will create an honors hall at USC Village which will house 600 high-achieving freshmen students.
That's a big gift. What's behind it?
Born in Northern California to Irish immigrants, Thomas Leavey went on to co-found Farmers Insurance. He and his wife, Dorothy, established the Thomas Leavey Foundation in 1952. The foundation has been a supporter of Los Angeles institutions for years and is now helmed by their daughter Kathleen Leavey McCarthy. At the end of 2012, the foundation held nearly $250 million in assets and gave away around $11 million.
The family and foundation's ties to USC run deep. Kathleen attended USC, was homecoming queen, and currently serves as a trustee at her alma mater. What's more, Kathleen met her late husband J. Thomas McCarthy while at USC. After Leavey passed in 1980, McCarthy took over stewardship of the foundation and helped guide some of its philanthropy.
The school has received millions from the foundation over the years. A $9 million gift back in 1994 established the Leavey Library, one of the two main libraries on USC's undergraduate campus. They've also been a consistent funder of the USC Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy.
The foundation has donated more than $100 million to various educational, medical and Catholic institutions in Los Angeles and throughout California. They are particularly known for their support of Jesuit institutions such as Loyola High School and St. Paul of the Apostle. Finally, Georgetown University has received more than $10 million from the foundation over the years. Thomas Leavey attended Georgetown Law.