As co-directors of The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, Martin Blank ’66 and Richard Ziman have to make some tough calls. One choice became clear when the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation recently announced it would match $1 million private donations to UC Berkeley for endowing new faculty chairs.
“There are many compelling reasons to give to Boalt Hall, but the incentive to make such a large donation was certainly heightened by the Hewlett match,” says Martin. “It’s a unique opportunity to have $1 million turn into $2 million.”
In September, the Hewlett Foundation gave UC Berkeley the largest private gift in its history, $110 million of which comprised the Hewlett Challenge matching grant. Thanks to the Gilbert Foundation and Lance Robbins ’72, Boalt has received the first two pledges, a total of $4 million for two new faculty chairs.
The Gilbert Foundation invests in programs that promote education, tolerance, social services, the State of Israel, healthcare and the arts. Its donation for a Boalt chair in Law, Business and the Economy will support the work of a distinguished faculty member, preferably a scholar in the field of Business Law or a related discipline.
Blank and Ziman think private philanthropy must address the decline in state funding for higher education. To support this belief, the Gilbert Foundation has donated to Boalt programs such as the Earl Warren Institute for Race, Ethnicity and Diversity, the Death Penalty Clinic, the International Human Rights Law Clinic, and the Boalt Hall Fund. As a result, it has been on Boalt’s “Honor Roll of Donors” and “Dean’s Society” list.
Blank received his undergraduate degree from Cal (A.B., 1963). He is a sole practitioner in Los Angeles and a member of the Beverly Hills and Los Angeles County Bar Associations, as well as the State Bar of California. Ziman is the chairman of American Value Partners, a real estate investment company. He received his undergraduate (1964) and law (1967) degrees from the University of Southern California. He is a passionate philanthropist, and has served on the boards of several charitable organizations.
Arthur and Rosalinde Gilbert came from England to Los Angeles in 1949, where they became successful real estate entrepreneurs and committed philanthropists. In 2001, a large portion of the family fortune was donated to The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation in order to continue the couple’s philanthropic work.