How Generous Is the Helmsley Trust to Hospitals?

Businesswoman and famed dog-lover Leona Helmsley may have had a reputation for being, well, tyrannical, but whatever her shortcomings in the realm of interpersonal skills, she was — and continues to be — a major contributor to American hospital philanthropy.

Before she died, she donated an impressive $10 million to Connecticut's Greenwich Hospital. More recently, the $4 billion Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has been funding hospital infrastructure, medical research, and health care-related projects throughout the United States. In March, the Helmsley Trust granted $3.1 million to the Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County (Wyoming) to purchase high-tech cancer radiation equipment. (See Helmsley Charitable Trust: Grants for Hospitals and Health Centers.)

Wyoming is a sparsely populated and serviced place, and its residents must sometimes cross state lines to get the cancer treatment they need. It's the lack of Wyoming-based services that the Sweetwater County Hospital is trying to combat by establishing its own state-of-the-art cancer treatment facility. (Read Helsmley Director of Rural Healthcare Shelley Stingley's IP profile.) "In Wyoming, as we all know, we've had to travel to receive cancer care," said Gary Collins, the hospital's marketing director, in a press release. "We don't want patients who could be treated locally sent out of state," he explained.

The Helmsley Trust has been generous to Wyoming. The trust awarded $5.2 million to the Big Horn Basin Regional Cancer Center in Cody, Wyoming, for cancer treatment equipment. Helmsley's latest tax filings also show investments in mammography equipment for a medical center in Afton, Wyoming.

Fortunately for the non-profit world, the (very) well-endowed Helmsley Trust specializes in a range of philanthropic areas. Per its website, Helmsley projects focus on health and medical research, human services, education, conservation, and Israel. In a grant combining conservation and Israel, the Helmsley Trust put $15 million in support behind solar energy research in Israel.

Unfortunately for many grantseekers, the Helmsley Trust has to know you already to fund your project. On its grant information website, Helmsley states that it solicits proposals "on a by-invitation-only basis. Unsolicited grant inquiries will not be reviewed or considered, and are discouraged at this time."