It’s no secret that we New Yorkers adore Central Park, but one man loves it so much he donated a whopping $100 million to its endowment, marking the largest amount ever gifted to a public park. Hedge fund heavyweight John A. Paulson and the Paulson Family Foundation announced the extremely generous gift yesterday at a press conference with Mayor Bloomberg and the Central Park Conservancy. When asked why he would donate such a large amount, the lifelong New Yorker referenced his fond memories, from his youth to recent strolls, enjoying the park’s expansive green grounds.
Paulson rose to riches in 2007 by short-selling sub-prime mortgages. Since then he has made several charitable donations around the world including giving $15 million to build a children’s hospital in Ecuador, nearly $4 million to the London School of Economics, and $20 million to NYU’s Stern School of Business.
Half of Paulson’s gift will go to the park’s endowment while the other half will be used for capital improvements. The park’s annual budget is currently $45.8 million, with only $144 million in its endowment. Paulson’s gift will made huge strides in maintaining the beauty and safety of one of New York’s greatest sites, which is enjoyed by over 40 million visitors a year.