Old essay leads to large donation

Paper he wrote 68 years ago leads American philanthropist to give $30m. to Weizmann Institute.

Lorry Lokey 88 (photo credit: )
Lorry Lokey 88
(photo credit: )
The 80-year-old founder and former chief executive of Business Wire, a corporate-news distribution service, has donated $30 million to the Weizmann Institute of Science, according to Friday's Wall Street Journal, which learned of it from Friends of the Weizmann Institute in the US and featured it in its "Gift of the Week" column. Lorry Lokey, who grew up in Portland, Oregon, and was the son of an air-conditioning salesman, founded Business Wire 47 years ago with $2,000 and sold the business to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway company two years ago for an estimated $400 million. According to the Journal, just before his bar mitzva Lokey wrote an essay for his religious school class on Israel's future first president, Chaim Weizmann, who worked on explosives as a chemist and helped the Allies in World War I. The philanthropist said last week he has long been fascinated by Israel and had for years planned to give the Rehovot institute named for Weizmann a major donation. "But I never got around to calling them. It's one of those things where you say: 'I'll do it tomorrow.'" Finally, three years ago, Weizmann fund-raisers approached him. The generous gift, commented Weizmann spokesman Yivsam Azgad (who as a matter of policy does not release news about donations), will go to establish the Lorry I. Lokey Pre-Clinical Research Facility and the Lorry I. Lokey Research School of Biochemical Sciences. It will constitute a reorganization of the institute's five research schools into a multidisciplinary facility to encompass biology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics and mathematics/computer sciences research and will also pay for the construction of a new building.