Sumner Redstone donates $10 million to Harvard Law School to support public service

Dean Martha Minow and Sumner Redstone

Credit: Martha Stewart Dean Martha Minow and Sumner Redstone

Sumner M. Redstone, one of the nation’s pre-eminent media entrepreneurs and philanthropists, has announced a gift of $10 million to Harvard Law School to endow the Sumner M. Redstone Fellowships in Public Service. The gift from the Sumner M. Redstone Charitable Foundation — the largest ever made to Harvard Law School in support of public service — will provide funding for HLS students who wish to work in the public interest after graduation. Redstone received his law degree from Harvard in 1947.

“We are profoundly grateful for Sumner Redstone’s magnificent gift, which will enormously strengthen our ability to encourage and support Harvard Law School graduates who wish to serve the greater good,” said Martha Minow, Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. “He has combined a legendary career in the media and entertainment industry with equally powerful optimism, activism and philanthropy. Harvard Law School is enormously proud of its long tradition of enabling students to pursue meaningful work in the public interest, and it is especially meaningful when one of our most distinguished alumni enables that commitment to continue.”

In announcing the gift, Redstone said, “The need for public service today is greater than ever, demanding innovation and progress to make a fundamental impact. As a graduate of the College and the Law School, I’ve experienced firsthand the academic excellence, as well as the spirit of civic and social responsibility that Harvard fosters in its students. It is an honor to further this commitment to public service and it is my hope that the Redstone Fellows will continue to put their intellectual  tools to the best possible use in building a better world.”

In 2010, Redstone’s gift of $1 million to Harvard College and Harvard Law School to support students committed to public service work allowed the Law School to establish the first ten Redstone Fellowships. The inaugural Redstone Fellows provided much-needed legal services in the areas of criminal defense, family and LGBT law, predatory lending prevention and consumer protection, environmental law, protection for immigrant women and children, civil rights and public interest litigation, and working with government agencies and NGOs in Atlanta, Boston, Minneapolis, New York, and Washington, D.C. “The work of the first Redstone Fellows had an immediate and profound impact in the lives of those they helped,” said Minow. “Now, thanks to Sumner’s transformational new gift, we can look forward to even greater accomplishments from future generations of Redstone Fellows, and to the difference they will make in providing access to justice for people who could not otherwise afford it.”

Since 2006, Redstone has served as the executive chairman of the Board of Directors of Viacom Inc. He also serves as Executive Chairman of the Board of CBS Corporation. He was Chief Executive Officer of the former Viacom Inc. from 1996 to 2005 and Chairman of the Board of the former Viacom Inc. since 1986. He has also been Chairman of the Board of National Amusements, Inc., Viacom’s controlling stockholder, since 1986, its Chief Executive Officer since 1967, and its President from 1967 to 1999. Redstone served as the first Chairman of the Board of the National Association of Theatre Owners and is currently a member of its Executive Committee.

A Boston native, Redstone has been a frequent lecturer at Harvard Law School and other educational institutions in the Boston area.  After graduating from Harvard Law School, he served as law secretary with the U.S. Court of Appeals and then as a special assistant to the U.S. Attorney General. Redstone served in the Military Intelligence Division during World War II. While a student at Harvard, he was selected to join a special intelligence group whose mission was to break Japan’s high-level military and diplomatic codes. He received, among other honors, two commendations from the Military Intelligence Division in recognition of his service, contribution, and devotion to duty, and the Army Commendation Award.

About The Sumner M. Redstone Charitable Foundation

From medical research to education to efforts to aid the poor and impoverished around the world, the Sumner M. Redstone Charitable Foundation seeks to advance aims that align with Sumner Redstone’s lifelong commitment to innovation, empowerment and progress.  Over the last several years, Sumner Redstone has contributed more than $170 million to worthy charities around the world. Recent gifts have funded new state-of-the-art facilities at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and Boston University School of Law, supported the Global Poverty Project towards eradicating polio and established the Cambodian Children’s Fund child rescue center, along with research and patient care advancements in cancer, burn recovery and mental health at several major non-profit healthcare organizations.

The Foundation will continue to seek out and support organizations in the United States and abroad that share Mr. Redstone’s vision for a better world.  For more information on the Sumner M. Redstone Charitable Foundation and Mr. Redstone’s philanthropic efforts, please visit www.sumnermredstonefoundation.org.