Geffen Foundation Continues Streak of Major Gifting in L.A.

It seems these days that David Geffen is in a hurry to give away his millions. In early April, Geffen awarded a major $25 million gift to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for a new museum, and in the last six months, the foundation has been giving big in LA.

This latest gift prompted USA Today to write: "The David Geffen philanthropic juggernaut keeps on chugging." (Read Geffen executive director, Dallas Dishman's IP profile). Geffen is the largest donor to the campaign, which seeks to raise $350 million for the museum. A theater at the proposed facility will also be named The David Geffen Theater in his honor.

"This is an exciting opportunity to be part of the creation of an iconic architectural space and cultural institution that will combine the best of the old and the new and provide a permanent public home for the academy's rich tradition of honoring the shining stars of the cinematic arts," Geffen said in a statement.

The new museum will be designed by famed architects Renzo Piano and Zoltan Pali, and will be located next to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The project is slated to be completed in early 2017, and will feature a huge space for galleries, exhibitions, theaters, and screening rooms.

"Designed to represent the marriage of art and technology, the wing will house The David Geffen Theater and will be a spectacular new piece of contemporary architecture that will perfectly complement the historic building," a statement from the Academy said.

In the last few years, Geffen has been ramping up his giving in Los Angeles.

In addition to the Academy, UCLA has also been a major benefactor. Last December, Geffen provided $100 million for a scholarship fund for medical students, just one way the recording mogul left his mark on the school. Geffen is the single largest donor to UCLA, and more broadly, he's the largest donor to any single UC school. When Geffen provided $200 million to UCLA, the medical school was renamed after him. (See IP Guide: Grants for Medical Schools).

Geffen has long been a major player in Los Angeles philanthropy, and at 70 years old, the latest rounds of gifts show his willingness to give big in the next few years. In February, the Chronicle of Philanthropy named Geffen the 40th most generous philanthropist in the U.S..