To be awarded over five years, the gift — the largest ever for a public park in the United States — includes an initial installment of $60 million followed by four annual installments of $10 million. Half of the funds will be used to renovate and maintain park facilities and pay for recreation programs, said Central Park Conservancy president Doug Blonsky. The other half will be added to the park's endowment, which now stands at $144 million.
Paulson, the billionaire founder and president of Paulson & Co., a New York City-based hedge fund that won big betting against subprime mortgages, joined the conservancy's board in June. In 2009 he donated $20 million to New York University's Stern School of Business and in 2010, with his wife, Jenny, gave $5 million to Southampton Hospital on Long Island.
"The conservancy is responsible for transforming and sustaining Central Park as the celebration of culture, nature, and democracy that it is today," said Paulson in a statement. "It is my hope that today's contribution will help it endure and flourish."