Tag: Alex Rankin

David Jones Sr., his alma mater UofL, and the politics of money and power in Louisville

By Jim Hopkins
Boulevard Publisher

David Jones Sr
Jones

If there’s anything surprising about David A. Jones Sr. formally entering the high-stakes fray over the University of Louisville yesterday, it’s the fact it took this long to become public.

Nearly three months ago, when Gov. Matt Bevin shocked the community by seizing control of the school and dismissing the 20-member governing board he declared “dysfunctional,” the first person I thought of was Jones, the Louisville native, co-founder of Humana, and one of the state’s leading philanthropists.

That June 17, Bevin said his decision was the “culmination of all the conversations I’ve had with everybody on all fronts.” He didn’t reveal the names of those he’d spoken with, but it certainly would have included alumni whose opinion mattered. And few among that select group matters more than Jones.

“One of the university’s most influential and wealthiest graduates,” I wrote the day Bevin moved against the 22,000-student school, “is Humana co-founder David A. Jones Sr., who received a bachelor’s degree in business there in 1954.”

Jones and his wife, Betty Ashbury Jones, have long and extensive ties to UofL. She received a bachelor’s degree from the school in 1955, and the two went on to graduate school: David to Yale Law; and Betty, much later, to the French School at Vermont’s Middlebury College. (More on those two schools in a moment). Back in Louisville, Jones and a law partner, Wendell Cherry, launched the health-care company in 1961 that would become the Humana empire, starting with a single nursing home; they became millionaires after it went public in 1968.

david-and-betty-jones
Betty and David Jones.
A Depression-poor childhood

David served on the board of trustees for a time, and Betty taught French Conversation in the Continuing Education Department from 1993 to 2003. For their service to the school, the couple were among the first to be made members of the Arts and Sciences Hall of Honors, in 2007.

David didn’t come from money, and UofL — which he attended on a ROTC scholarship Continue reading “David Jones Sr., his alma mater UofL, and the politics of money and power in Louisville”

In a sharp rebuke, JG Brown foundation asks whether UofL foundation funds were improperly diverted, threatens to cut off future gifts

By Jim Hopkins
Boulevard Publisher

The white-shoe world of philanthropy is usually collegial and rarely combative, which makes the $355 million James Graham Brown Foundation‘s public accusations yesterday against the University of Louisville Foundation so extraordinary.

The Brown foundation, which has given $72 million to the school over the past six decades, sent the broadside in a letter from Chairman and CEO R. Alex Rankin and President Mason Rummel, according to The Courier-Journal.

They expressed concern that “expenditures may have been made that were not exclusively for the charitable and educational purposes of the university,” or were not consistent with UofL rules barring donors, members or trustees from personally profiting from the UofL foundation, according to the CJ’s Andrew Wolfson.

Alex Rankin
Rankin

Established in 1943, the Brown is second only to UofL’s among the city’s biggest philanthropic foundations based on asset size; UofL’s has about $820 million. That gives the Brown and Rankin extra clout, and could spur other big donors to also threaten funding cutoffs. Rankin is well-connected in the city’s power structure, sitting on the boards of Churchill Downs and Glenview Trust Co., where fellow directors have very strong UofL connections.

In their letter, Rankin and Rummel also said the Brown foundation is troubled the university hasn’t honored open- records requests from the chairman of the university’s board of trustees, Larry Benz, concerning UofL foundation accounting records, the CJ says.

Underscoring the gravity of their concerns, Rankin and Rummel threatened to cut off funding unless UofL hires a nationally recognized forensic accounting firm to review its finances. The specific request for a forensic accounting is striking because Continue reading “In a sharp rebuke, JG Brown foundation asks whether UofL foundation funds were improperly diverted, threatens to cut off future gifts”