What's Behind The Lincy Foundation's Shuttering?

In 2010, The Lincy Foundation, founded by Kirk Kerkorian, granted over $30 million in awards geared toward all manner of health and health care causes. Organizations such as Feeding America, the Discovery Eye Foundation and the United Way are just a few examples of Lincy's philanthropic largess. In 2011, Kerkorian shut down Lincy and donated all of its remaining assets to UCLA's Dream Fund. That's a big fat check in the "W" column for UCLA, but an even bigger check in the "L" column for the health-related institutions that once received millions in grants from Lincy.

Before shuttering its doors, The Lincy Foundation gave over $1 billion from 1989 to 2010 to hospitals, health care related organizations, schools, and scientific research. For example, the Discovery Eye Foundation received a $2.38 million grant before Lincy's big move. And this move is big. As mentioned earlier, Lincy transferred all of its remaining assets to UCLA — $100 million to the Dream Fund and $100 million to a donor-advised fund.

Looking at the Dream Fund's impact sheet, it's pretty clear that health issues are not a priority, with over 67% of its funding granted to general higher education and not the medical-based higher education programs that the Lincy Foundation once funded. UCLA is the exception, however, with six grants from the Dream Fund made directly to the various medical schools on campus and their related programs. Those grants are included in the mere 13.5% of the Dream Fund's total giving going toward health and health-related causes.

Word on the street is that 95-year-old billionaire Kerkorian, whose reported net worth took a massive tumble during the current recession, will continue to give in large numbers as he has in the past. The word around Nevada — Kerkorian helped build Vegas and has been called the "father of the mega resort" — is that his generosity will be sorely missed. A sentiment, you can be sure, that other health organizations share.