Charles A. Dana (philanthropist)

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Charles A. Dana (25 April 1881 – 27 November 1975[1] was an American businessman, politician and philanthropist who founded the Dana Foundation and the Dana Corporation.


Charles A. Dana was born on April 25, 1881, in New York City to Charles Dana (1824–1906), a businessman and philanthropist originally from Brandon, Vermont, who worked with the Vanderbilt family until he retired.[2] Charles A. Dana received a B.A. and law degree from Columbia University and then became a prosecutor with the New York District Attorney's office. Dana first gained publicity for his work during the trial of the murderer of architect Stanford White in 1907.


Dana was a member of the New York State Assembly (New York Co., 27th D.) in 1910 and 1912. Dana allied himself with Governor Charles Evans Hughes and Theodore Roosevelt, eventually managing one of Roosevelt's campaigns.


In 1914, Dana entered the business world, leading Spicer Manufacturing and then in 1946 establishing the Dana Corporation, which produced automobile and mechanical parts.[3]

He was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1978.


After acquiring a sizable fortune, Dana began donating large sums to hospitals and small universities, including Middlebury College, Bates College, Colby College, Davidson College, and Tufts University.

In 1950 Dana founded the Dana Foundation, which originally focused on higher education, later focusing on brain science and other scientific research on human health.[4] The foundation's support for the Sydney Farber Cancer Institute resulted in it being renamed the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in 1983.


Dana died on 27 November 1975[1] at Wilton, Connecticut and was buried in Brandon, Vermont.


  1. ^ a b Flint, Peter B. (29 November 1975). "Charles A. Dana, Financier, Dies; Philanthropist, 94, Assisted Schools in East and South". The New York Times. p. 30. Retrieved 22 November 2018.)
  2. ^ Obituary. New York Tribune, Jun. 6, 1906
  3. ^ "Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History". Tufts Digital Library. Archived from the original on 2014-12-20. Retrieved 2019-08-31.
  4. ^ "Staffing Up | Excellence in Philanthropy". The Philanthropy Roundtable. 2009-10-06. Archived from the original on 2014-04-19. Retrieved 2019-08-31.

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