NET WORTH: $2.9 billion
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Golden State Bancorp
FUNDING AREAS: Education & Youth, Health, Texas Community
OVERVIEW: Gerald Ford and family move their philanthropy through the Gerald J. Ford Family Foundation, which gave away around $1.2 million in a recent year. Ford has given millions to his alma mater Southern Methodist University. Texas is an import region of giving.
BACKGROUND: Gerald J. Ford graduated with a bachelor's and a J.D. from Southern Methodist University. He bought his first bank in 1975 and over the next 18 years, acquired 19 banks, ultimately forming First United Bank Group. In 2002, Ford and Ronald Perelman sold Golden State Bancorp to Citigroup for $6 billion in stock. Ford is currently chairman of Hilltop Holdings.
EDUCATION & YOUTH: Ford is on the board of Southern Methodist University, which he's strongly supported. Ford once chaired the board. He, Kelli, and the Gerald J. Ford Family Foundation committed $15 million earlier in the decade to construct the Gerald J. Ford Research and Innovation Building. Ford has been a major patron of his alma mater. In 2003, he established the Gerald J. Ford Research Fellows program. He provided the lead gift for a football stadium and supports student scholarships. Ford and family, via their foundation, have supported The Hockaday School, where Kelli sits on the board. The school is home to the Kelli and Gerald J. Ford Orchestra Hall. Other grantees include Jefferson Scholars Foundation, YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas, and Inner-City Scholarship Fund.
HEALTH: Ford and Kelli gave $10 million to Weill Cornell to create the Gerald J. Ford-Wayne Isom Research Professorship in Cardiothoracic Surgery. The Fords have been involved with Weill Cornell for many years, supporting the Center for Reproductive Medicine, establishing the Gerald J. Ford Family Professorship of Reproductive Medicine, and contributing to the Terry Allen Kramer Professorship of Cardiothoracic Surgery. Part of the story here is that Ford is longtime friends with Weill Cornell Chairman of Cardiothorastic Surgery O. Wayne Isom, who grew up in a neighboring Texas community.
TEXAS COMMUNITY: Grantees include Texas Health Resources Foundation and Senior Citizens of Greater Dallas.
LOOKING FORWARD: Expect the Ford family to continue to support these interests. It's unclear if more money will move through the foundation in the coming years. Apart from the Dallas area, the family also has ties to New York City, The Hamptons, and New Mexico.
The Gerald J. Ford Family Foundation
200 Crescent Ct, Ste 1350
Dallas, TX 75201