In search of additional sources of revenue, universities and colleges have cultivated individual donors to provide support to academic projects and initiatives. Major gifts (of at least $100,000) from private donors are typically lost in an aggregation of all types of philanthropy, rather than being considered as their own separate category. This chapter provides evidence of the contributions of high net worth individuals to university programs, with a focus on donors’ support of scientific research. We have documented 4794 announced major gifts to 835 degree-granting institutions, from 4,381 donors between 1995 and 2004. Major gifts to create scientific research centers are highlighted, because these gifts are rare, understudied, and link individual donors to the economic and regional development associated with these research centers. These considerations are relevant to modern institutions seeking to leverage high net worth donors, as major sources of scientific research and development funding are currently under threat.