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$100 million gift to secondary school from philanthropist Henry R. Kravis
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$100 million gift to secondary school from philanthropist Henry R. Kravis

The Loomis Chaffee School recently received the largest gift in the 150-year history of the prestigious prep school.

It’s also among the largest ever given to any secondary school in the country.

Henry R. Kravis, a 1963 graduate of the school and the co-founder and co-executive chairman of the investment firm KKR & Co. Inc., has given the Loomis Chaffee $100 million, the school announced Tuesday.

Kravis said in a statement that he is a strong believer in the positive impact that a “world-class” education can have on a person.

“Loomis Chaffee taught me how to appreciate different perspectives, and it ultimately made me a lifelong student of the world,” Kravis said. “Marie-Josée and I are delighted to continue our support and help others benefit from the great education this wonderful institution provides.”

Barbara Dodd Anderson, motivated in part by billionaire businessman Warren Buffett, an investment partner of her father’s, gave the George School, a prep school in Newton, Pennsylvania, $128 million in 2007, The New York Times reported. The Webb Schools in Claremont, California, received a $100 million estate gift in 2022 from a deceased donor that wished to remain anonymous. In addition, Deborah Simon, daughter of Simon Property Group co-founder Mel Simon, donated $100 million to Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania in 2013.

Kravis’ gift to Loomis Chaffee will be distributed among three different funds at the private, college preparatory high school. According to the school they include:

The Henry R. Kravis ’63 Opportunity Initiative Scholars Fund, which will receive $50 million to address the school’s long-term commitment to accessibility. The fund will “support students with significant demonstrated financial need” and will increase the percentage of students on financial aid. It will also fund the cost of books, computers, and some of the other extras.

The Sheila A. Culbert Fund for Faculty and Staff Support, which will receive $20 million. The purpose of the fund is to support “attracting and keeping quality faculty and staff by providing competitive compensation.”

The Henry R. Kravis ’63 Fund for Institutional Priorities, which will receive $30 million. The fund will offer versatility and choice, and provide the school with “the flexibility to invest in important educational initiatives that will have a positive impact on the lives of Loomis Chaffee students and faculty for years to come.”

“I am humbled by the extraordinary generosity of Henry and his wife, Marie-Josée, and so grateful for their unmatched long-standing commitment to Loomis Chaffee,” Head of School Sheila Culbert said. “This amazing gift reflects their dedication to fostering a culture of academic distinction and supports our founders’ original commitment to access and opportunity.”

School officials said that in addition to the gift, Kravis will continue to fund the existing Kravis Scholars program with an additional commitment of $5 million over the next five years. Established in 1989, the program enrolls students from underrepresented demographic and socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds with an emphasis on students who live outside of the New York City area.

This year, the school has 11 Kravis Scholars, who receive the financial support needed for all aspects of their Loomis education, including summer enrichment and travel abroad. Kravis Scholars also receive guidance and mentorship from the director of the Kravis Scholars Program.

In addition to funding the scholars program, the school has also been able to build a dormitory in his name and established the Henry R. Kravis ’63 Center for Excellence in Teaching, and named the Henry R. Kravis Instructorship in Economics in honor of his former economics teacher, James “Grim” Wilson, whom he credited for his interest in business as a career.

According to school officials, as the school’s commencement speaker in 2015, Kravis said that the “school, more than any other, has shaped who I am today both personally and professionally. Not only did the school provide me with a good education, but it also taught me about commitment, perseverance, optimism, and altruism — the very values on which this school was built.”

In recognition of Kravis’ generosity to Loomis, school officials said, the trustees of Loomis Chaffee will name an award in his honor. The school will present the Henry R. Kravis ’63 Award for Distinguished Service each spring to a member of the alumni, faculty, or staff who has “given selflessly to advance the mission of Loomis Chaffee through outstanding service and dedicated commitment to the institution.”

Duncan A.L. Maclean, chairman of the Loomis Chaffee board of trustees and a 1990 graduate, called the gift from the Kravises unprecedented and historic.

“Their generosity embodies our founders’ vision by endowing future generations with the gift of a Loomis education,” Maclean said. “Their leadership and demonstration of what it means to be one’s best self and serve the common good is an inspiration to us all.”

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