Kansas University and the Douglas County Community Foundation will share in an $8.5 million gift from the Dolph Simons Family Fund.
"We are grateful for the farsightedness and generosity of the Simons family," said Dale Seuferling, president of the Kansas University Endowment Association.
The gift will be administered under the auspices of the KU Endowment Charitable Gift Fund. KU and the Douglas County Community Foundation will each receive $2.125 million. Current gifts, as well as later disbursements from the remaining $4.25 million to other worthy KU and community causes, will be at the discretion of the Simons family.
The KU Endowment Charitable Gift Fund is a nonprofit entity created by the endowment association to administer gifts of this sort.
Seuferling announced the gift today.
"In utilizing the KU Endowment Charitable Gift Fund for their philanthropic plans it will benefit not only KU, but also KU's home community of Douglas County," Seuferling said. "The significance of this charitable act is yet another tangible example of a long and proud history of the relationship between the Simons Family and KU Endowment."
Dolph C. Simons Jr. is a former chairman and member of the board of the KU Endowment Association.
KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway and Douglas County Community Foundation Chairman Michael J. Davis also commended the Simons family.
The Douglas County Community Foundation connects the diverse citizens and communities of Douglas County through charitable action. The foundation has distributed more than $1 million in grants to educational, cultural and human services organizations and projects that enhance the quality of life of area residents.
"This gift demonstrates the Simons family's steadfast devotion to Lawrence and the University of Kansas," Hemenway said. "In that spirit, this is a gift that will have a lasting and positive impact on the lives of Douglas County citizens and the KU community."
The involvement of the Simons family in Douglas County began in 1891 when W.C. Simons arrived in Lawrence, after a three-day buggy ride, with $40 in his pocket. He leased the Lawrence Record newspaper, and several months later he established the Lawrence World. It evolved into the Lawrence Journal-World in 1911.
W.C. Simons' son Dolph succeeded his father as publisher of the Journal-World, and his son Dolph C. Simons Jr. became publisher in 1962. Dolph C. Simon Jr. currently leads The World Company, which owns the Lawrence Journal-World and Sunflower Broadband, and publishes newspapers in Kansas, Colorado and Arizona.
He served as chairman of the KU Endowment Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2002 and is currently chairman emeritus. His father, the late Dolph Simons, chaired the board for six years.
He and his wife, Pam, have four children: Pam A. Simons, a KU radio, TV and film major, graduating in 1976, of Fort Collins, Colo.; Linda Simons deMenocal, who graduated KU in 1979, an education major, Bedford, N.Y.; Dan Simons, graduated KU in 1985, a radio/television/film major, Lawrence; and Dolph Simons III, who attended KU in the 1980s and lives in Lawrence.
Dolph Simons III is president of The World Company's Newspapers Division, and Dan Simons is president of the Electronics Division.