Longtime executives unleash big donations:

January 1, 2007

Two Indianapolis business legends cemented their reputations for generosity in 2006 with charitable donations of $50 million and $15 million, respectively.

The Indiana University School of Medicine announced in November that retail developer Melvin Simon and his wife, Bren, had committed $50 million to the school's cancer center to recruit and retain researchers and to help with an expansion.

Apartment developer Gene Glick and his wife, Marilyn, earlier in the fall announced a $15 million contribution to the Indianapolis Cultural Trail initiative. That donation will allow construction of the downtown bike and pedestrian path to start next March.

Half of the Simons' gift will create the Joshua Max Simon Research Endowment to keep "internationally accomplished researchers," according to a statement from the medical school. The endowment will honor the Simons' son, who died. The other half of the donation will fund expansion of patient care.

Melvin Simon, 79, has been one of Indianapolis' most prominent business executives for decades. The Brooklyn native wound up in the city when the U.S. Army stationed him at Fort Benjamin Harrison.

After his discharge, he settled here and helped start retail developer Melvin Simon & Associates in 1960.

Melvin and his brother Herb have owned the Indiana Pacers for 23 years. Most of their business interests were privately held until 1993, when they renamed their development company Simon Property Group and took it public.

Simon Property Group led the development of Circle Centre mall, whose opening in 1995 helped spur downtown's revival.

Gene Glick, 85, is a longtime developer and manager of apartment communities in Indiana and several other states.

In 2004, he won IBJ's Michael A. Carroll Award, which is given annually to a person who embodies four characteristics: determination, devotion, humility and community.

The Glicks have made many charitable contributions to Indiana organizations over the years. They include a $1 million donation to Junior Achievement of Central Indiana.

The Glicks' $15 million cultural trail donation will help construct a 7-1/2-mile path connecting the city's six cultural districts and the central Indiana greenway system.

The trail will open in 2009.
* Melvin Simon Glick
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