Kirk Kerkorian, the billionaire investor in MGM Resorts International, will transfer his $200 million charitable foundation to the University of California, Los Angeles.
The Lincy Foundation’s assets will establish the Dream Fund, to be managed by the UCLA Foundation and used to support medical research and academic programs at the university as well as other “charitable projects throughout the United States,” the school said in a statement on its website today. UCLA is part of the 10-campus University of California system, which faces $500 million in budget cuts.
Kerkorian, 93, is the chief executive officer of the Tracinda Corp., which owns 27 percent of MGM Resorts, the casino company that operates the Bellagio and Mirage hotels in Las Vegas. The Lincy Foundation was founded in 1989 and has given more than $1.1 billion to schools, hospitals and Armenian charities, according to the statement. The Lincy Foundation and Tracinda are named after Kerkorian’s daughters, Tracy and Linda.
“The UCLA Foundation and the entire UCLA community are grateful for a magnificent act of support by a private foundation,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block in a statement. “Mr. Kerkorian and The Lincy Foundation have a long history of major charitable giving, and the UCLA Foundation is honored to have been entrusted to continue their mission.”
UCLA will manage the money as a “donor-advised fund,” with no less than 50 percent of the proceeds going to UCLA and the rest to be spent in Los Angeles and around the U.S., said Rhea Turteltaub, vice chancellor of external affairs for UCLA, in a telephone interview today. A committee composed of UCLA and community leaders will be formed to solicit inquiries from charities.
The university system has no set purpose for the funds and may use the money for scholarships, faculty and research, most likely as a stimulus to prompt other gifts, Turteltaub said.
“What’s great about a gift of this nature is that it’s flexible, but it wouldn’t go into basic operating funds,” Turteltaub said. “This isn’t budgetary replacement money.”
UCLA received $100 million from Meyer and Renee Luskin on Jan. 26 for the School of Public Affairs and to build a conference center.
UCLA, founded in 1919, has 26,687 students. Graduates include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the former professional basketball player, and Michael Ovitz, former chairman of the Creative Artists Agency Inc.