Pure Philanthropy

In this era of massive self-aggrandizement and virtue signaling, it is heartwarming to relate a tale of pure philanthropy and goodness. We all need a bit of good news, no?

What’s THE STORY, Big Red Car?

The story goes like this:

Sandy and Ruth Gottesman lived happily in Rye, New York. Sandy was a finance professional and a protege of a chap named Warren Buffett who started a company called Berkshire Hathaway.

Sandy got in on the ground floor with his pal Warren and invested in his fledgling conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway, resulting in a highly successful and lucrative fortune that Sandy managed well.

In 2022, Sandy passed away at age 96 leaving his wife Ruth with a fortune and spare instructions:

“Do whatever you think is right with it.”

What did Ruth do with the money, Big Red Car?

Hold you horses, amigo. I need to develop the story a bit more.

Ruth held a doctorate in education and was affiliated with a medical school in the Bronx, Albert Einstein College of Medicine (founded in 1955), and worked there since 1968 in a series of important jobs.

When her husband and she came down with the ‘Vid, the head of the medical school took him (and her) under his wing and made that most rare of doctor seances, house calls.

Having nursed them back to health, the head of the medical school asked a 90-year old Ruth to sit as the chair of its board of trustees. She had previously served on the board of trustees.

One thing led to another and Ruth, now widowed and sitting on a gigantic fortune, contemplated what to do with the money from her position as chairwoman of the board of trustees.

What did Ruth do with the money, Big Red Car?

Ruth donated $1,000,000,000 to Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York to allow its almost 1,000 students to attend medical school free of charge — the money will offset the tuition in perpetuity.

Ruth — casting aside the usual aggrandizement of having the school named after her and/or her husband — insisted that the name of the school remain as it is.

I find it interesting that a medical school is named after a brilliant physicist. I cannot find the connection.

In 2015, the college became affiliated with Montefiore hospital resulting in that most efficient of partnerships, a medical school and an operating hospital in a large market.

What did we learn, Big Red Car?

We learned several things:

 1. Pure philanthropy exists and Ruth Gottesman is its reigning exemplar.

 2. Sandy Gottesman was nobody’s dummy and got in on the ground floor of Berkshire Hathaway with his pal Warren Buffett. Capitalism is good.

 3. Clearly, capitalism is a force for good and the almost 1,000 students at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx who attend tuition-free next year will know that.

Tuition is $59,000/year and the average graduate exits with $200,000 in student debt. The school’s student body is 48% white, 29% Asian, 11% Hispanic, and 5% Black.

 4. That medical college president (Dr. Philip Ozuah who immigrated to the US legally from Nigeria) who made the house calls was a shrewd operator and when he asked Ruth Gottesman to become the Chairwoman of the Board of Trustees, he hit a very good lick.

Legal immigration seems a good idea, no?

 5. There are good people in this world who have lived the American Dream who are doing good things to benefit their communities and our great Nation. America is a good place and Americans are a good people.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car.

God bless you, Sandy and Ruth Gottesman. Bravo and well played!