The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust announced its first round of grants since its benefactor, Leona Helmsley died in August 2007.
If you remember, Helmsley’s will caused something of a stir because the late real estate mogul – in leaving most of her estimated $5 billion-$8 billion estate to charity – left a significant chunk to dogs.
Among the first round of grants, which totaled $136 million, were 10 grants totaling $1 million to various canine organizations, such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The vast majority – some $115 million – went to medical institutions and medical research: $40 million to New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, $35 million total went to start two research facilities in Helmsley’s name at Mount Sinai Medical Center, and more than $13 million in total went to the Avera Health System in South Dakota.
The Helmsley Trust says that it will focus on several areas: Health and Medical issues, Human Services, Conservation, and Education (along with a category “other” under which the canine grants fall.)
Jewish groups were not totally left out of the equation.
The Trust gave a $350,000 grant to the Rabbi Arthur Schneier Park East Day School in Manhattan. The grant is to be used to plan an expansion the school’s pre-K through eight grade day school
The school’s current student body totals 339 students, but in recent years, it has experienced a surge of demand as indicated by dramatic increases in applications and enrollment due to its growing reputation. It is timely for the school to address the current space limitations and the expansion of its educational offerings to accommodate continued enrollment growth.
The Trust also gave a $200,000 general support grant to the Jewish Association for Services for the Aged “to support their senior centers, meals and nutrition programs, housing, and enrichment activities for the vulnerable elderly of New York City.”
And it gave a $200,000 general support grant to the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty “to support crisis intervention for needy families, a kosher food distribution network, affordable housing, counseling, and home care for the elderly.”