David Geffen Gives UCLA $100 Million for High School


UCLA has received a gift of $100 million from philanthropist David Geffen which will allow the university to continue its plan to create an academy that will offer innovative college preparation for students in the Los Angeles area between grades 6 and 12.

The donation will allow for renovations, faculty and curriculum development, and other important elements necessary for the opening of the academy, which will be located on UCLA’s campus.  The gift will also allow for the funding of a financial aid program to help low-income families.  UCLA predicts that 40% of students at the academy will receive aid.

Another portion of the donation will go toward the creation of a $30 million endowment.  Of that, $5 million will allow the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies to connect the academy with a list of UCLA’s partner schools, writes Phil Hampton for the UCLA Newsroom.

With this most recent gift, Geffen has now donated over $400 million to the school, making him the largest individual donor to UCLA.  A scholarship fund totaling $100 million was established by Geffen in 2012 to offer a fully funded education to the best students who enroll at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.  That scholarship has caused a number of other medical schools to increase financial support available to their students.  An unrestricted gift of $200 million was also given to the medical school by Geffen in 2002, which was the largest single gift to a medical school in the country at the time.

Geffen has also given his support to theater and arts programs at the school.

“We are humbled by David’s generosity and inspired by his visionary philanthropy,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said. “The Geffen Academy at UCLA will enhance our ability to deliver on the mission that is at the core of our DNA – research that informs teaching, and service to our community.”

Block went on to say that the academy’s presence will allow UCLA to attract top faculty members who could be more likely to teach at a school with such academic options available for their own children.

The Geffen Academy was created as a result of a suggestion from Geffen to build a secondary school on the campus.  It plans to create critical thinkers who are capable of demonstrating competency across a broad spectrum of coursework relevant to the 21st century.  Students will have additional opportunities available to them that are not typically given to high school students, such as a research labs, cultural and athletic programs, and a state-of-the-art medical school, all open for their use at UCLA, writes Larry Gordon for The Los Angeles Times.

The university hopes to open the academy for the 2016-17 school year, enrolling a total of 125 students between the 6th and 9th grades.  Plans for expansion would bring that total to 600 students across grades 6 through 12.  To start, the academy will be housed inside the Kinross Building, which the university will renovate.  Eventually, the academy will have its own building, reports Melissa Korn for The Wall Street Journal.

Geffen’s donation is part of the $4.2 billion UCLA Centennial Campaign, scheduled to come to an end in December 2019, as part of the university’s 100th anniversary year.