Vol 5. Issue 28 / September 26, 2005
Lawrence J. and Florence A. De George of Jupiter Give $5 Million for Research at Scripps Florida
Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence J. De George of Jupiter, Florida, have donated $5 million to The Scripps Research Institute to support biomedical science at the institute's new campus in Palm Beach County, Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Scripps Research President Richard A. Lerner announced recently during groundbreaking ceremonies for the new state-of-the-art facilities.
The gift from Lawrence J. and Florence A. De George Charitable Trust is the largest that has been made to Scripps Florida, a division of The Scripps Research Institute, since the Governor and Lerner announced that the California-based organization would expand its operations into Florida in 2003.
Five $1 million gifts from other Palm Beach County residents have already been announced.
"I know that all Floridians join me in thanking Larry and Florence De George for their historic gift, as well as for everything that they have given and done for other great causes here," said Governor Bush. "Their record of philanthropy to education, health care, human services, and now biomedical research is unparalleled anywhere in our state."
The couple gave $5 million to the Palm Beach County Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation in 1997, followed by gifts totaling more than $2 million to the organization since then, all for diabetic research. In the same period, they also contributed over $4 million to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward and Palm Beach Counties. As founders, along with General H. Norman Schwarzkopf and Paul Newman, the De Georges have contributed over $7 million to Camp Boggy Creek at Eustis, Florida, for medically disabled youths. Together, they are frequent honorees at gala events for local and national causes, from the American Cancer Society to the American Red Cross.
"Florence and I believe in Florida, where we have our business and our home," said Mr. De George. "We consider our gift to Scripps Florida an investment in the state's future—economically, educationally, and culturally. We salute the Governor and Board of County Commissioners for their vision and their fortitude in fighting the good fight for Scripps Florida."
In addition to $310 million from the State of Florida, Palm Beach County has contributed $200 million—including 100 acres at Mecca Farms—to help build and start up operations at Scripps Florida's new campus. The campus, featuring three buildings totaling 345,000 square feet of laboratory space, is scheduled to open in late 2007. Until then, Scripps Florida scientists numbering more than 100 continue work in temporary facilities built for this purpose by Florida Atlantic University (FAU), also with support from the Board of County Commissioners, on FAU's northern Palm Beach County campus in Jupiter.
Under terms of the De George gift, Scripps Florida must be built at Mecca Farms on the schedule agreed upon by the state, the county, and Scripps Research. Also, under terms of Scripps' contract with Florida, 15 percent of the gift must be remitted to the state's Biomedical Fund to support biomedical research grants to qualified Florida research universities and organizations.
"Philanthropy is part of Palm Beach County's particular genius," said Lerner. "Larry and Florence De George exemplify that quality brilliantly. We thank them for honoring us with their gift, and we're proud they've selected Scripps Research to join the other great causes they have supported so generously for so many years."
The De Georges were married in 1943. During their 62-year marriage, they have both worked at independent careers. Larry followed a financial career as a merchant banker, establishing three Fortune 500 public companies, and Florence as a commercial interior designer on New York's Wall Street and Madison Avenue. Florence is best known for her work at the Four Seasons restaurant. They both have worked together for the past 15 years in the restructuring of over 40 acquired companies and forming their three Fortune 500 public vehicles. By donating a piece of each company they acquired, they formed the Lawrence J. and Florence A. De George Charitable Trust.
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"We consider our gift to Scripps Florida an investment in the state's future—economically, educationally, and culturally."