- Jun 25, 2007
Source: LA TimesBarron Hilton to donate most of fortune
Paris' grandfather bequeaths 97% of his $2.3-billion net worth to the charity foundation started by his father.
By Susannah Rosenblatt
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
December 27, 2007
Hotel magnate Barron Hilton, grandfather of heiress Paris Hilton, has bequeathed 97% of his estimated $2.3-billion net worth to his father's charity foundation, officials said Wednesday.
The contribution to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, to come from the sale of Hilton Hotels Corp. and the pending sale of Harrah's Entertainment Inc. after the money is placed in a trust, is the largest in the foundation's history and will bring its value to about $4.5 billion.
Barron Hilton, 80, pledged an immediate $1.2-billion donation to the foundation, with an estimated $1.1 billion to follow after his death.
The Holmby Hills resident is the foundation's chairman.
"Working to alleviate human suffering around the globe, regardless of race, religion or geography, is the mandate of the foundation set by my grandfather . . . and now reinforced by my father," Hilton's son Steven M. Hilton, president and chief executive of the organization, said in a prepared statement.
Paris Hilton, the most famous of Barron's 23 grandchildren, could not be reached for comment.
She has built her own moneymaking empire with a popular TV reality show, movie cameos and a hit single, plus appearances shilling perfume, burgers, books and canned champagne.
Hotelier Conrad Hilton, Barron's father and Steven's grandfather, established the charity in 1944 and left nearly all his fortune to the organization when he died in 1979.
The foundation, with offices in Century City and Reno, is the third-largest in Los Angeles County behind the California Endowment, with $3.8 billion, and the J. Paul Getty Trust, with $8.6 billion, according to the Los Angeles Business Journal.
Two decades ago, Barron Hilton fought the foundation in court, disputing the charity's ownership of a controlling 27.4% interest in Hilton Hotels Corp. He then split the shares' roughly $650-million value with the foundation after a long legal battle.
The charity has committed $560 million over more than six decades for programs to house the mentally ill and to increase access to safe drinking water in Africa and Mexico, among other projects.
This month, the foundation awarded a $1.6-million grant to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University to help provide housing for drug and alcohol users to aid in their recovery.
The foundation also awards a $1.5-million humanitarian grant each year, one of the world's largest. This year's recipient, Tostan, is a West African nongovernmental organization that works to educate people with little or no formal schooling and combat female genital mutilation.