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The donation will go towards launching a research initiative at three American universities aimed at finding treatments for brain disorders like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease. The new Weill Neurohub will bring together data-driven and engineering work from the University of California, San Francisco, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Washington. Through the collaborative efforts of neuroscientists and researchers, the research network aims to quicken the development of therapies for brain and nervous system diseases.
Three years ago, the billionaires donated $185 million to the University of California, San Francisco, which helped established the Weill Institute for Neurosciences at the university’s Mission Bay campus. At the time, the donation was the largest-ever gift to the university. The Weill’s giving to the neuroscience community now exceeds $300 million.
The cause is especially close to Sandy Weill, whose mother had Alzheimer’s. But Joan Weill’s mother lived until she was 101, with her mind intact. “We want to keep healthy brains healthy and help find treatments for those affected by mental illness, which is heartbreaking for so many patients and families around the world,” said Joan Weill.
In October, Sandy was declared as Carnegie Hall’s $100 million man. The title was awarded following the couple’s latest $14.6 million gift, which brought their cumulative giving to the concert venue above $100 million. This new gift to Carnegie Hall's 125th Anniversary Campaign will provide important support to the venue’s artistic and educational initiatives. A Carnegie Hall trustee for thirty-six years, Sandy was elected Chairmen of Carnegie Hall's Board of Trustees in 1991; he transitioned in 2015 to a new role as President. In recognition of their outstanding philanthropic work, the Weills were awarded the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy Award in 2009.
The Weills were among the original signatories in 2010 to The Giving Pledge, a commitment by the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. The couple made the Forbes ‘America’s Top Givers’ list in 2017 for an estimated giving of $74 million.