Jerome L. Greene Foundation Pledges $15 Million to Support Scholarships, Public Service, and Clinical Education at Columbia Law School

Jerome L. Greene ’28 (second from right) at the 1999 Jerome Greene Hall ribbon-cutting ceremony with former Dean William C. Warren (left) and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg '59 (center).
Columbia Law School Dean Gillian Lester announced today that the Jerome L. Greene Foundation has pledged $15 million to increase public service opportunities and ensure that future generations of deserving students have the resources to obtain a Columbia Law School education. The foundation’s gift is its largest single grant to Columbia Law School and the latest in a longstanding commitment to Columbia by the foundation’s late benefactors, Jerome “Jerry” L. Greene ’26CC, ’28LAW and his wife and partner in philanthropy, Dawn M. Greene.

Jerry Greene, in a portrait displayed in Jerome Greene Hall.
“This pledge, for which the Columbia community is deeply grateful, significantly enhances access to Columbia Law School for the next generation of leaders and legal professionals through scholarships and critical core support for clinics,” said Dean Lester, the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law. “The foundation’s faith in Columbia Law School motivates others to give generously and underscores our commitment to providing a preeminent legal education.”

The three-part gift will establish the Greene Public Service Scholars program with an endowment of $7 million to provide full-tuition scholarships to help outstanding students prepare for careers in government, nonprofit organizations, academia, social entrepreneurship, or community development.

Second, a $5 million Greene Scholarship Challenge—a first-of-its-kind matching scholarship fund that will translate into a new $10 million scholarship endowment—will be created to encourage donors to endow named scholarships.

Finally, the foundation is establishing the Greene Clinical Professorship with a gift of $3 million to expand Columbia Law School’s already significant opportunities for students to learn and practice essential legal skills as part of their clinical education.

“The foundation is proud to continue Jerry Greene’s support of Columbia Law School, which he credited for his success in business,” said Christina McInerney, who succeeded her mother, Dawn Greene, as foundation president and chief executive officer in 2010. “With this gift, we hope not only to make a Columbia Law School education more accessible to the best and brightest students, regardless of background, but also to cultivate legal minds whose focus is to serve their communities and fight for social justice.”

Dawn Greene with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (left) and Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger ’71 (right).
The Jerome L. Greene Foundation, established in 1978, is dedicated to investing in opportunities that enrich and advance people’s lives, with a focus on organizations and projects devoted to the arts, education, medicine, and social justice.

The foundation’s pledge will help kick off Columbia Law School’s new capital campaign, which launches publicly in the fall of 2017.

Christina McInerney, president and CEO of the Jerome L. Greene Foundation.
In addition to his distinguished career as a lawyer, real estate investor, philanthropist, and humanitarian, Brooklyn-born Jerry Greene was a loyal and enthusiastic Columbia Law School alumnus until his death in 1999 at age 93. In 1990, the Law School honored Jerry by naming its flagship building after him; in 2009, it posthumously awarded Jerry the Medal for Excellence—its highest honor.

Born and raised in New York City, Dawn Greene earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees in sociology and social work from Fordham University and was a clinical counselor at the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health early in her career. She led the Greene Foundation from 1999 until her death in 2010, having been awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from Columbia University in 2008.

Prior to becoming the foundation’s president and chief executive officer, McInerney was the founder and president of McInerney International Ltd., a firm representing foreign publishers in the United States. A native New Yorker, she completed her master’s degree in German language and literature at the University of Colorado and pursued Ph.D. studies at Boston College.

This latest pledge is part of a broader legacy of the Greene Foundation’s generous support to the Columbia community. In 2006, the foundation pledged a record $250 million for the Jerome L. Greene Science Center, a highly acclaimed state-of-the-art facility designed by Renzo Piano that opened this spring as a preeminent home for neuroscience research and education on the University’s new Manhattanville campus.

“This gift affords our superb Columbia Law School students greater opportunities to pursue a public service path,” said Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger ’71. “It also allows more of our students to participate in clinical offerings, while also strengthening the teaching and mentorship provided by our world-class law faculty.”  

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Posted on May 9, 2017