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The William H. Donner Foundation


Last profile update: 01/09/2018
Last grant data update: 04/13/2018

At A Glance

The William H. Donner Foundation

520 White Plains Rd., Ste. 500

Tarrytown, NY United States 10591-5118

Telephone: (914) 524-0404


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Additional Descriptor

  • Family foundation






Incorporated in 1961 in DC - The foundation developed out of the International Cancer Research Foundation, established in 1932 by William H. Donner. The foundation incorporated in 1945 in DE as the Donner Foundation and in 1961 divided to form the Independence Foundation and the William H. Donner Foundation, Inc. William H. Donner began his business career in grain milling. His most significant industrial ventures, however, were in metals. He became interested in the tin plate industry and, in 1894, founded the National Tin Plate Company of North Anderson, Indiana. He also founded, with the Mellon brothers and Henry Clay Frick, the Union Steel Company, of which he was president. After a merger with the Sharon Steel Company in 1902, it was sold to the U.S. Steel Company in 1903. Mr. Donner then became president of the Cambria Steel Company, chairman of the Penn Steel Company, and formed the Donner Steel Company of Buffalo, New York. He sold his interest in Donner Steel in 1929. Mr. Donner's interest in cancer began in 1929 when he lost his eldest son, Joseph, to the disease. He devoted a great deal of his philanthropic efforts to cancer research, and established the International Cancer Research Foundation in 1932 to honor Joseph's memory. Toward the end of his lifetime, Mr. Donner turned much of his attention to Canada and established, in 1950, the Donner Canadian Foundation, one of Canada's largest national foundations

Purpose and Activities

Giving primarily for international development and relief services, education, arts and culture, and public affairs.