Billionaire Ronnie Perelman's father and mother, Raymond and Ruth Perelman, recently donated $225 million to Penn Medical School. Many people forget that Ronnie learned leveraged buyouts at his father's knee. The senior Perelman, now 93 years old, has bought and sold more than 50 companies to accumulate a $700 million fortune.
The historic passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by Congress earlier this year weighed heavily on the Perelman's decision to give a record-breaking $225 million donation to the University of Pennsylvania’s medical school.
“If you are going to add 32 million new people to the insurance rolls, there needs to be more doctors available to treat them. Otherwise, our quality of care will suffer similar to England’s and Canada’s,” said Perelman in a recent interview at his Bala Cynwood office that serves as the headquarters for his RGP Holdings.
The Perelmans’ contribution is earmarked to expand the training capacity of the medical school, the nation’s oldest.
“My gift will be used to increase the number of doctors that the medical school trains each year,” Perelman said. “I am hoping that the number of doctors annually trained will jump from approximately 175 now to 500.”
As befitting Perelman’s modest demeanor, he downplayed the donation. “Do not worry about me. I still have some money left over.”
Perelman is now working just as hard to give his fortune away. “I plan to give away all my money before I die. My sons Ronnie and Jeffrey do not need the money.” he said. “As they say, use it or lose it.”
Perelman, who recently bid for the Philadelphia Inquirer as a civic act, is thinking of donating money to support journalism. He compared newspapers to buggy whips. "Who is buying buggy whips anymore?"