Sanford and Joan Weill

NET WORTH: $1.14 billion

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Securities Brokerage, Insurance, Consumer Finance, mergers and acquisitions at American Express, Citigroup, and others

FUNDING AREAS: Education, health, and music

OVERVIEW: While many major philanthropists support of wide variety of causes and take risks to spur innovation, Sandy Weill has maintained a relatively singular focus and traditional approach to philanthropy. The vast bulk of his more than $900 million in giving has gone to support educational causes. He's also a major supporter of some of the world's best hospitals and a longtime champion of classical music.

BACKGROUND: Weill has worked on Wall Street for more than 50 years and played a major role in many large banking institutions. He has served as president of American Express and was responsible for creating Travelers Group through a series of acquisitions, eventually merging Travelers with Citicorp to create Citigroup. He was instrumental in changing the laws that prohibited the mergers of community and investment banks, although in 2012 he reversed course and advocated for breaking up banks to ensure they are not too big to fail.


EDUCATION: In 1980, Weill worked with the New York City Board of Education to create the Academy of Finance, which trains high school students for careers in financial services. The program was so successful that he eventually went on to found the National Academy Foundation. NAF serves more than 60,000 students at 500 career-themed academies in 41 states and the District of Columbia, offering curricula in finance, hospitality and tourism, information technology, and engineering.

Weill has given more than $400 million to endow Cornell's medical school and its Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology and helped to raise hundreds of millions from other donors as well.  Through Cornell, he also helped develop the first American medical school overseas, partnering with the Qatar Foundation for Education. He has made major contributions to the University of Michigan School of Public Policy, Paul Smith's College, and Sonoma State University, among others. However, a pledge of $20 million to Paul Smith's College was pulled after the school refused to change it's name to the Joan Weill-Paul Smith's College.

HEALTH: Weill supports cutting-edge research and practice through contributions to many of the world's top hospitals and medical colleges. In addition to the Weill Cornell Medical Center, named in his honor, and the partnership that created the first American Medical College overseas, Weill has made substantial contributions to New York Presbyterian Hospital, the Hospital for Special Surgery, the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, and the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Israel.

MUSIC: Weill is a longtime music lover and supporter of classical music in particular. In 1986, he made a major contribution to Carnegie Hall that resulted in one of its three performance halls being named after him and his wife. He has served as chairman of Carnegie Hall's board of trustees since 1991, and in 2003 he made a $30 million matching gift to establish the Weill Music Institute. He also has made major donations to capital campaigns for a recital hall at Sonoma State, where he serves on the board of advisors, and is a director of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation.

LOOKING FORWARD: Weill's philanthropy has been rather consistent over his long career, so his areas of interest and giving patterns are not very likely to change. It's possible that he could be persuaded to wade into the education reform debate or support more innovative education programs at lower levels, particularly when it comes to magnet-type schools. His contributions thus far, however, have been primarily directed toward higher education. Similarly, in health, his donations will likely continue to go to hospitals and medical schools for capital and building campaigns.