This Major Business School Benefactor Also Supports the Arts

It's tough to talk about business school philanthropy over the past 10 years without bringing up the name David Booth. In 2008, Booth, with his wife Suzanne and their family, gave $300 million to Booth's alma mater, University of Chicago, which renamed the business school in his honor. More recently, the Booths gave a $2.5 million gift to support a new business school building at University of Kansas, Booth's other alma mater.

Booth, 69, is the billionaire cofounder of Dimensional Fund Advisors, which manages some $381 billion in assets. I've written about another one of these cofounders, Rex Sinquefield, before.

What's interesting, here, is that despite the major support of business schools at Booth's alma maters, much of the couple's philanthropy involves another interest—the arts. Suzanne, an art historian and collector, takes the lead, here, and serves as president of the couple's philanthropic vehicle, Suzanne Deal Booth and David G. Booth Inc.

Suzanne has an art history degree from Rice University and an M.A. in art history and conservation from NYU's Institute of Fine Arts and Conservation Center. She's worked at such institutions as the Kimbell Art Museum and the Met, and in 1998 founded Friends of Heritage Preservation. Suzanne also serves on the boards of LACMA, the Menil Collection, Centre Pompidou Foundation, Ballroom Marfa and The Contemporary Austin.

This strong interest in art is reflected in the grantmaking by Suzanne Deal Booth and David G. Booth Inc., which we should note doesn't have much of a web presence or a clear avenue of contact. The Booths have funded arts outfits such as Chinati Foundation, a contemporary art museum in Marfa, Texas; the Dallas Museum of Art; Fusebox, which "champions adventurous works of art across a variety of different mediums" primarily through an annual art festival; Nelson Atkins Museum, New Orleans Museum of Art, Austin Film Festival, Centre Pompidou Foundation, LACMA, and others.

Recent funds have also gone to National Trust for Historic Preservation, Texas State History Museum Foundation, International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art, and the World Monuments Fund.

The couple's philanthropy involves schools other than Booth's alma maters. The organization has funded University of Houston, University of Texas at Austin, Georgetown University, New York University and Rice University. Sometimes this philanthropy intersects with the couple's interests in art and conservation. For instance, Rice University is the site of the Suzanne Deal Booth Centennial Pavilion, an open-air "skyspace" and music performance venue created by artist James Turrell. A recent $3 million gift to Georgetown supported the creation of the the Suzanne Deal Booth and David G. Booth Center for Special Collections. Even the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business is home to an art collection with works chosen by Suzanne.

Other support has involved outfits such as Austin Achieve Public Schools, "an open-enrollment, tuition-free public charter school," and environmental outfits such as Waller Creek Conservancy.

Related: David G. Booth