Shocking UCLA with the kind of largess that most institutions only dream about, an 83-year-old Sun Valley businessman has promised $12 million to the university's Children's Hospital.
Although many benefactors might ask for such acknowledgment as having a building named after them, Rubin Brown asked only that his millions be used "to help the kids," said Kim Richardson, a spokesman for the electrical supply entrepreneur.
"He said he wanted to do something good with his money," added Richardson, an estate planner.
After struggling with budget problems brought on by federal cuts in health care programs, UCLA officials were elated.
"We are deeply grateful to Mr. Brown for his extraordinary generosity," said Dr. Gerald Levey, dean of the UCLA School of Medicine and provost of UCLA's medical sciences. "His gift will [vastly improve] the quality of life for generations of children to come."
The gift was the largest received so far by Children's Hospital, located within the UCLA Medical Center in Westwood, and was among the 10 largest in the history of the Medical Center.
The hospital opened last year and has been accredited for about six months.
UCLA officials said the money will be used to expand and improve pediatric neurological research and treatment. The primary beneficiaries will be children with developmental problems associated with severe epilepsy, they said.
Brown "shuns the limelight" and did not wish to talk about his gift, Richardson said.
UCLA will receive the money after Brown sells his company, Excel Electric, a four-state electrical supply firm that the businessman started in the early 1930s, Richardson said. The money already has been committed to an irrevocable trust, according to university officials.
Richardson said Brown began considering several options a year ago before deciding to give the huge sum to UCLA. "We contacted them," he said of UCLA officials. "They were thrilled."
Until then, Brown's only link to the university was through a son who attended the law school.
Brown, a horse owner known at local racetracks, had never before offered such a large charitable gift, Richardson said.
"He just fell in love with the pediatric program at UCLA," the spokesman said. "Somehow, it really touched him."