Pittsburgh Foundation Receives $50 Million Bequest

The Pittsburgh Foundation has announced a gift of approximately $50 million from the estate of Charles Kaufman, a chemical engineer who died in September at the age of 97.

As much as $40 million of the gift will be allocated to the Charles E. Kaufman Foundation, which was established at the Pittsburgh Foundation in 2005 to support scientific research activities in chemistry, biology, and physics. The balance will go to a fund established in 1984 by Kaufman and his sister, Virginia, that supports a broad range of causes selected by the two, including Jewish health care, land conservation, and public education.

Kaufman, who earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Cincinnati in 1936 and a master's degree in chemistry from the Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1942, spent his entire career at the water treatment company Hagan Corporation, which later became Calgon Carbon Corporation. Not until his retirement, which began in the early 1970s, did Kaufman accumulate millions through savvy investments in companies involved with cutting-edge scientific research.

"The thing about this man is that he was passionate about giving back to the community," Pittsburgh Foundation president and CEO Grant Oliphant told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "It's a wonderful Pittsburgh story: a professional who worked very hard to make some money and, when he retired, parlayed that into business interests that panned out nicely for him."

Joyce Gannon. "Pittsburgh Foundation Receives $50M Gift." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 01/06/2011. "Donor Leaves Record $50 Million Gift to the Pittsburgh Foundation." Pittsburgh Foundation Press Release 01/06/2011.