Helen Gurley Brown Gives Columbia and Stanford $30M for Media Innovation

The joint Columbia and Stanford institute will be named after Cosmo matriarch Helen Gurley Brown and her late husband, producer David Brown

Long-time Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown has gifted $30 million to Columbia University’s journalism school and Stanford University’s school of engineering to found an institute for media innovation, named after Gurley Brown and her late husband, producer David Brown.

Hele Gurley Brown donates $30 million to Stanford and Columbia to fund media institute dedicated to innovation

Each school will receive $12 million for “Institute activities” and an additional $6 million will go to Columbia to aid in the construction of a “signature space” adjacent to the current graduate school.

"Great content needs useable technology," Gurley Brown said in a statement. "Sharing a language is where the magic happens. It’s time for two great American institutions on the east and west coasts to build a bridge.”

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The donation marks the biggest contribution to the Columbia Journalism school to date as the two schools collaborate to unite journalism and technology – as well as both coasts.

“This gift from David and Helen Gurley Brown is truly transformative for the school,” Nicholas Lemann, Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, said in a statement. “As we enter our Centennial year, the Browns’ generosity will enable us to explore new and exciting realms of leadership in our field.”

Both schools will use the money to endow a director for their respective coasts.

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The Institute’s board of advisers includes the CEO of Hearst Corp., Frank A. Bennack Jr., and Bill Campbell, the Chairman of Columbia’s board and a member of the Apple board.

Gurley Brown, nearing 90 years old, was the editor of Cosmo for more than 30 years while her husband, a graduate of Stanford and the Columbia, produced hits such as “Jaws” and “A Few Good Men.”