Trustee, philanthropist and community leader Adrienne Arsht has given $3 million to the University of Miami Ethics Programs, constituting the largest gift for ethics in Florida history. Arsht funds support a variety of projects, including research projects and a distinguished speaker series.

Ms Arsht’s generosity to the community has been recognized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals which has given her the 2011 Award for Outstanding Philanthropist.

Arsht Distinguished Ethics Faculty and Scholar
A portion of Ms. Arsht’s gift is being devoted to faculty development. University of Miami faculty may apply for or might be invited to apply for support to recognize their work in ethics. The amount of support will vary.

Arsht Distinguished Speakers Series in Ethics
Goals of the series include bringing nationally and internationally recognized experts to the University of Miami for student education, faculty development and community engagement. Arsht speaker presentations are open to the public.

Arsht Ethics Debates at Sportsfest
The Sportsfest debates significantly expand ethics activities into the daily fabric of UM campus life, by bringing ethics debates into the dorms for the popular annual Spring event.

Arsht Research on Ethics and Community Grants
Arsht Ethics Research Grants are awarded annually for research projects that address a contemporary moral issue, that has implications for public policy, professional practice, human rights, etc.

Arsht Special Projects
Limited funds have been set aside for especially meritorious projects or opportunities that have a high probability of leading to concrete and high-visibility deliverables. Most such awards will be limited to $2,500.

About the Arsht Ethics Initiatives

Trustee, philanthropist and community leader Adrienne Arsht’s gifts to the University of Miami have included $3 million for the Ethics Programs, the largest gift for ethics in Florida history.

“Adrienne is passionate about a great many causes and, being the sharp businesswoman she is, she has been able to connect them all by generously investing in a variety of important projects at the University of Miami,” University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala said in announcing phase 2 of the ethics donation. “We are so fortunate to have this tireless champion for education in our community.”

“I am pleased to lend my support to the University of Miami, an institution which touches so many lives in this community and elsewhere through higher education, medicine, medical research, culture and athletics,” said Ms. Arsht.

Arsht made an initial $1 million donation to UM Ethics Programs in 2006, at the time equaling the largest gift supporting ethics programs in the State of Florida.  Her second gift, in 2008, broke that record and continued to fund several university-wide interdisciplinary initiatives, including an ethics debate series, a research program and the Adrienne Arsht Distinguished Speaker Series in Ethics. 

In addition to Ms. Arsht’s ongoing relationship with the UM Ethics Programs, she has designated $1 million to create the “Adrienne Arsht Hope for Vision Retinal Degeneration Research Laboratory.” The gift will fund a laboratory for retinal degeneration research at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the Miller School of Medicine.  The lab will allow development of new treatments for hereditary eye disorders. 

Ms. Arsht has also designated funds to other University of Miami areas such as athletics and the Frost School of Music, and provides vital funding for strategic University priorities.  Arsht was appointed to the UM Board of Trustees in May 2008.  She serves on the boards of numerous charitable organizations, including Amigos for Kids, American Ballet Theatre and Best Buddies International, among others.

“Ethics are at the core of everything we do,” Ms. Arsht said in 2006 at the time of her initial gift. “By incorporating ethics into most fields of study, the University of Miami is providing a vision for leadership in this community,” she said. “My hope for this endeavor is that students from across all of UM’s campuses will have a core understanding of ethics as it relates to all aspects of their lives.”

“Adrienne’s leadership in our community continues with her gift to the University’s Ethics Programs,” said UM President Shalala at the time of the second gift, in 2008. “It is through her example that our programs and our students will continue to be successful.”

Combined, the gifts created a platform for expanded university-wide, interdisciplinary programs. The gifts enhanced an already successful program that has been in existence at UM for more than two decades under the leadership of Profs. Anita Cava of the School of Business and Kenneth W. Goodman of the Miller School of Medicine and Department of Philosophy, College of Arts and Sciences.

“Great universities have great ethics programs. These gifts will help us build on a decade-and-a-half track record and cement UM’s status as a national leader in interdisciplinary education, research and community service,” said Goodman, who together with Prof. Cava, has worked with Ms. Arsht on these issues in the past.

Prof. Cava noted that “these gifts are the culmination of an ongoing dialogue between Adrienne and the University. She is passionate about the integration of ethics at every level of learning, and Ken and I are both grateful to and inspired by her.”