Alma Mater of Ralston-Purina Founder : $100 Million to Be Given to Washington University

From Reuters

Washington University here is to receive $100 million from the Danforth Foundation of St. Louis, the foundation announced Friday.

“It is at least twice as big as anything we have received before,” Washington University Vice Chancellor James Davis said.

“A stipulation of the grant is that the principal be invested,” foundation President Gene Schwilck said. According to university officials, the investment could earn up to $5 million a year.

“By generating new capital each year, the endowment will provide the administration and board of the university a flexibility necessary to meet new opportunities and challenges,” Schwilck said.


Washington University was founded in 1853 by William Greenleaf Eliot, the grandfather of T.S. Eliot. It has a student body of about 5,000.

The Danforth Foundation was established in 1927 by the late William H. Danforth, who made the family fortune with the Ralston-Purina livestock feed company, in which family members are still major stockholders.

Danforth was graduated from Washington University in 1892, a foundation statement said.

One of his grandsons, William H. Danforth, is chancellor of Washington University as well as the chairman of the Danforth Foundation.


William’s brother, John C. Danforth, is a Republican senator from Missouri.

The university has nearly $800 million in endowments, not including this grant, university officials said.