Happy Birthday To Rochester ’s Greatest Philanthropist

 George Eastman was born July 12, 1854 and had more impact on the Rochester community to date then any other individual. Without him we would not have the University of Rochester, the Eastman Theater, the world class Eastman School of Music, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and Strong Memorial Hospital with its School of Medicine & Dentistry. He also built several dental dispensaries around the world located in Rochester , Paris , Brussels , Rome , Stockholm and London with gifts of one million dollars each. Eastman even gave 20 million to MIT under the name of Mr. Smith. Then there were his gifts of land for Maplewood Park , Cobb’s Hill Park and Durand Eastman Park . By the time he died in 1932, George Eastman had contributed over 100 million dollars of his personal wealth, most of it to the Rochester community.

 Even though we are very grateful and most appreciative of today’s Rochester philanthropists, in terms of today’s dollars they would have to donate over $3 billion dollars of their personal wealth just to equal what Eastman did by 1932. When you also consider the many people who made millions after investing in Eastman Kodak and also gave back to the community, there is no doubt that George Eastman’s impact on Rochester was phenomenal, making him not only Rochester’s greatest philanthropist, but also one of the greatest philanthropists in all the world.  

Happy Birthday to George Eastman, thank you for all you did for this community! Thank you also to the wonderful people who take care of another of his legacies in our community, the beautiful Eastman House and Dryden Theater.