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The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust Donates $136 Million to Charities

First Round of Grants to Aid Medical Research, Human Services, and Emergency Services

NEW YORK, April 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The trustees of The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust today announced approximately $136,000,000 in grants to charitable organizations across the United States and elsewhere.

This marks the first round of grants from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust since Mrs. Helmsley's death in August 2007. The Trust is administered by five trustees selected by Mrs. Helmsley.

In a statement accompanying announcement of the grants, the trustees said, "We are continuing the philanthropic legacy of Mr. and Mrs. Helmsley. Throughout their lives, the Helmsleys were committed to helping others, through the innovations of medical research, responding to those in need during critical times, and in other areas. We now have the privilege of continuing their good works by providing support where it will make a difference."

The Trust is supporting a diverse range of organizations, with a major focus on health and medical research. In addition, the Trust is supporting programs in human services, education and conservation (for a complete list of grants, go to the web site,

In making the grants, the trustees note that this is a critical time for many charities and non-profit organizations, which have been severely affected by the overall economic climate and cutbacks in private and government support.

In the area of health and medical research, more than $115 million will go to research and treatment of major diseases affecting millions of children and adults worldwide -- such as Type 1 Diabetes, nutritional genomics, digestive diseases including Crohn's and colitis, and heart disease. The health and medical research grants will also fund rural health care, allowing for faster diagnosis and treatment in rural hospital emergency rooms, translating to improved recoveries and survival rates for seriously ill patients.

In the field of human services, funds will go to organizations addressing the critical needs of children and adults living in poverty in the U.S. and elsewhere. This includes supporting homeless shelters, food banks, and emergency service programs in New York City.

In the area of education, support will provide greater access to educational resources, including providing funds to programs that promote youth educational opportunities.

In the area of conservation, grants will help to preserve threatened ecosystems by creating partnerships that address the root causes leading to their destruction. The initial conservation work of the Trust will focus on supporting projects that emphasize sustainable development and ecosystem restoration in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador and Baja California, Mexico.

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust was established in 1999 after decades of philanthropic giving by Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley. The five trustees are: Alvin Rosenthal, Mrs. Helmsley's brother; David Panzirer and Walter Panzirer, two of Mrs. Helmsley's grandchildren; Sandor Frankel, Mrs. Helmsley's lawyer; and John Codey, advisor to Mrs. Helmsley. Since its founding, the Trust has been a major donor to various organizations, particularly health and medical research institutions.

SOURCE The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust
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