New York-A planned $40 million arts center near Alan Gerry's hometown is not the first investment for the Gerry Foundation, the not-for-profit organization he set up in 1996 after selling his cable company to Time Warner Inc. for $2.8 billion.
In 1997, the foundation gave $10 million to help kick-start the Cable Center and Museum at the University of Denver. Later gifts, in the medical-research field, went to the Boston University School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital and several Sullivan County, N.Y., hospitals.
Gerry said he plans to substantially increase the foundation's giving to about $10 million annually.
Gerry pointed to other former cable executives who have contributed generously to worthy causes, including former
Continental Cablevision Inc. chairman Amos Hostetter and former Lenfest Communications Inc. president H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest. Many current cable executives give away millions of dollars to various charitable causes, he added.
"The cable people continue to make their mark on the world," Gerry said. "I think they're a generous group as a whole. You feel good being a part of that whole point in time."
Others who made fortunes in cable have made charitable contributions in the arts and education. Lenfest gave $35 million to his high school alma mater, Mercersburg Academy, last year, and he was a major contributor to the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa.
Hostetter has given extensively to educational institutions through charitable vehicles the Hostetter Foundation and the Barr Foundation.
Former Hauser Communications Inc. chairman Gustave Hauser has given about $23 million to Harvard University for projects ranging from a new building for the law school to the creation of the Hauser Center for the study of nonprofit corporations.