The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has announced that its Chairman, Barron Hilton, is building on the philanthropic legacy of his father by contributing approximately $1.2 billion of proceeds from the sale of Hilton Hotels Corporation and the pending sale of Harrah’s Entertainment into a charitable remainder unitrust that will eventually benefit the foundation.
LOS ANGELES – December 26, 2007. (updated April 13, 2010) The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has announced that its Chairman, Barron Hilton, is building on the philanthropic legacy of his father by contributing approximately $1.2 billion of proceeds from the sale of Hilton Hotels Corporation and the pending sale of Harrah’s Entertainment into a charitable remainder unitrust that will eventually benefit the foundation. This brings the total value of the Hilton Foundation and its related charitable entities to approximately $4.5 billion.
Barron Hilton also indicated at a recent meeting of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation board of directors that it is his intent to further follow in his father’s footsteps by contributing 97% of his entire net worth, estimated today at $2.3 billion, including the created trusts, at whatever value it is at the time of his passing.
“Speaking for the family as well as the foundation, we are all exceedingly proud and grateful for this extraordinary commitment,” said Steven M. Hilton, President and CEO of the foundation. “Working to alleviate human suffering around the globe, regardless of race, religion or geography, is the mandate of the foundation set by my grandfather, Conrad Hilton, and now reinforced by my father, Barron Hilton.”
Conrad Hilton established the foundation in 1944 and, when he died in 1979, left virtually all of his fortune to the foundation.
Conrad Hilton bought his first hotel in 1919 and was a pioneer in seeing the potential for a global hotel chain. He undertook an ambitious program of building hotels on each continent and his name today remains synonymous with hotels. Barron Hilton joined the company in 1954 and became CEO in 1966. He led the Hilton Hotels Corporation for three decades, greatly expanding its growth by entering the Nevada gaming market. During this period, multiple hotel brands were also added. Hilton continued to serve as co-chairman along with CEO Stephen F. Bollenbach until last month’s sale.
In keeping with Conrad Hilton’s directive that the foundation be global in its reach, more than 50 percent of its grants annually are directed to international initiatives. The foundation concentrates most of its funding on major long-term projects that will affect systemic change. It has been a pioneer in providing water and sanitation systems for villagers in developing countries; supportive housing for mentally ill homeless and homeless mothers and children in the U.S.; blindness prevention and treatment worldwide; drug abuse prevention among youth; and early childhood education for children with disabilities. Since its inception, the foundation has committed more than $560 million to charitable work throughout the world.
During his lifetime, Conrad Hilton supported the work of Catholic Sisters, so in 1986, the Conrad N. Hilton Fund for Sisters was established and is the only entity dedicated exclusively to funding Sisters’ projects throughout the world. In 1969, Barron and his brother, Eric Hilton, also a board member of the foundation, established the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston to train young people from throughout the world for hospitality careers.
The Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, now in its 12th year, is the largest humanitarian award in the world at $1.5 million and is given annually to a charitable organization that is doing extraordinary work in relieving suffering. It is presented at annual Hilton Humanitarian Symposia held in New York City or Geneva, Switzerland, that bring together leaders from the international humanitarian community to look at challenges and solutions in bringing aid to the world’s needy populations.
Barron Hilton’s current gift and his commitment to leave the bulk of his estate to the Conrad Hilton Foundation guarantees that the work of the foundation will continue and expand for many years to come, further supporting the foundation’s grantmaking strategy of funding for the long-term.