Foundations That Support USC, MIT, and Others Receive Millions to Fund Research and Teaching

LOS ANGELES, CA and CAMBRIDGE, MA — The Lord Foundation of California, a nonprofit foundation that supports the University of Southern California (USC), has received approximately $260 million to fund research and teaching as a beneficiary of the recent sale of the North Carolina-based LORD Corporation, a global technology and manufacturing company. The foundation is expected to distribute those proceeds to USC in 2020 following legally required approvals.

Three related foundations that support the Cleveland Clinic, Duke University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) also have received equal distributions from approximately $1 billion of the corporate sale proceeds.

“We are deeply grateful for the vision and generosity of Thomas Lord and the Lord Foundation. For a number of years, they have provided significant annual support for research and educational programs in engineering and business at USC,” says USC President Carol L. Folt. “And now, this tremendous distribution of funds provides us with one of the greatest opportunities in our history to think boldly and to invest in cutting-edge and strategic initiatives that accelerate our research and teaching to address major societal issues for decades to come.”

USC Provost Charles F. Zukoski adds, “Quite simply, this is a provost’s dream. The flexibility and scale of this gift allows us to build much more rapidly than normally possible upon cross-university strengths in areas such as artificial intelligence, big data and analytics, and to support our faculty as they leapfrog into emerging areas of research and teaching that advance the public good.”

The mission and formation of foundations to support research and education were the vision of entrepreneur Thomas Lord, whose father, Hugh Lord, founded the LORD Corporation in 1924. Thomas Lord believed in private institutions as an alternative to government in providing solutions to social and economic problems. In 1982 he created Jura Corporation to serve as a holding company for the voting stock and other non-voting shares of the LORD Corporation. Through a unique estate plan he also established five foundations which, after his death in 1989, held major interests in Jura Corporation and its successor, Jura LLC. The four remaining foundations include the Lord Foundation of California, which benefits USC; the Lord Foundation of Massachusetts, which benefits the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the Lord Foundation of North Carolina, which benefits Duke University; and the Lord Foundation of Ohio, which benefits The Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

The Lord Foundation of California is a 501(c)(3) California nonprofit public benefit corporation. Its charitable purpose is to support USC through grants to research and teaching programs at USC. Since 1980, the Lord Foundation of California has funded a variety of teaching and research initiatives at USC, including the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program, the social enterprise lab and business competition program at the USC Marshall School of Business, the Space Engineering Research Center at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, and many more.

The Lord Foundation of Massachusetts, another of four existing foundations established by Thomas Lord, has received $260 million, which will be distributed to MIT over time. The funds are also part of the proceeds from the sale of the LORD Corporation.

The distribution to MIT will have a far-reaching impact because of both the magnitude of the funds and the flexibility allowed for their use. Each of the four Lord foundations was established to support a specific institution, and their general mandate is to support the advancement of education, research, science, and technology. MIT, which controls The Lord Foundation of Massachusetts, will be able to invest these dollars around the Institute to advance its mission of educating students and advancing knowledge in service to the nation and the world.

The Lord Foundation of Massachusetts has already provided MIT with approximately $34.4 million in funds since it began supporting MIT in 1986.

“Thomas Lord and his successors at LORD Corporation have pioneered a distinctive strategy for giving back to society,” says MIT President L. Rafael Reif. “Their generosity to all four institutions is remarkable. And the value of the distribution is magnified because it comes with great flexibility, giving institutions the nimbleness to seize opportunities and address needs that can be hard to cover through traditional philanthropy. We are tremendously grateful.”

The LORD Corporation, operating as a private company with a unique capital structure, became a global company focusing on noise and vibration control products, electric-mechanical innovations, automotive and aerospace applications, and chemical products, including specialty adhesives. In 2018, its sales exceeded $1 billion.

In April 2019, Parker Hannifin Corporation announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire all of the LORD Corporation stock for approximately $3.675 billion. The holding company, Jura LLC, voted to approve the sale and tender its shares of LORD Corporation stock for the sale. Following the final regulatory approvals, approximately $1 billion in funds from the sale of the LORD Corporation were then distributed via Jura to the four Lord foundations for the benefit of their affiliated institutions.