Ignoring Maimonides’ teaching that it is best to give charity anonymously so that the ego is not involved, Blackstone private equity CEO Stephen Schwarzman gives only on condition that he is recognized. Hence, his $100 million gift to the New York Public Library resulted in the renaming of the main branch, a historic edifice, as the “Stephen Schwarzman Building”.
Recently, some at his alma maters have questioned his modus operandi of quid pro quo. Schwarzman’s high school, Abington Senior High School in Abington, PA resisted renaming their high school “Stephen Schwarzman High School” in return for a $25 million gift.
Schwarzman’s methods have also caused controversy at his college, Yale. Yale benefited from his $150 million donation for a new student center, naturally to be named after him.
Some feel that the university goes too far kowtowing to major donors, not only offering them name recognition but also power in prioritizing and determining the school’s mission. From the Yale Daily News:
“There’s a sense among faculty members that, when it comes to the really big-ticket items that the University is working on, like the new science complex or the Schwarzman Center, that a lot of the ideas are driven by the donors rather than driven by the faculty and their mission,” said Chair of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Senate and American Studies professor Matthew Jacobson in an interview with the News this month.