Seats for Columbia’s now-cancelled commencement event.

A nonprofit that’s gifted Columbia $86 million pulled funding last month, the NYT reports.Unlike outspoken billionaires, the Berrie Foundation exerted influence behind the scenes.Columbia said the move wouldn’t impact patients at a diabetes lab and treatment center.

Yet another Columbia University mega-donor yanked funding from the school — this time behind the scenes.

The New York Times reports the Russell Berrie Foundation — named for the gift-and-greeting-card entrepreneur — suspended giving on April 26 in a move that cost Columbia tens of millions of dollars.

It stopped donations as protests surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict raged across Columbia and other US college campuses.

A Columbia spokesperson told Business Insider it was grateful for the Berrie Foundation’s “support of innumerable and impactful diabetes initiatives throughout the years,” and was “committed to sustained, concrete action to make Columbia a community where antisemitism has no place and Jewish students feel safe.”

The Berrie Foundation primarily gives to diabetes and Israel-related causes, according to its website.

The nonprofit has given $86 million to Columbia over more than two decades, according to the Times, underwriting both the Russ Berrie Medical Science Pavilion and Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center.

A university official told BI it does not anticipate disruption to patient care, and that president Minouche Shafik has been in communication with the foundation.

Unlike super-donors Patriots owner Robert Kraft and billionaire investor Leon Cooperman, who have made their opinions on the protests known, the Berrie Foundation has been waging its influence quietly, according to the Times.

This has included emails to school president Shafik and a meeting with her last November.

Angelica Berrie, the wife of the foundation’s late founder, who serves as the president of its board, called the decision to pull funding “painful,” the Times reported.

“We will watch and see whether their actions actually rectify the situation,” she told the Times.

The Berrie Foundation did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

Read the original article on Business Insider


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