Skip to main content

Sale of LORD Corporation Leads to $1 Billion Fund for Education, Research at Cleveland Clinic, Duke, MIT, USC

LORD Corporation was recently purchased for $3.675 billion, triggering the distribution of the proceeds to the four institutions

Pictured is the LORD Corporation's plant in Erie, Pa., where the company was founded.
Pictured is the LORD Corporation's plant in Erie, Pa., where the company was founded.

The sale of LORD Corporation, a century-old, privately-held manufacturing company, has led to the distribution of more than $1 billion to four charitable foundations that support institutions seeking to advance education and research.

Cleveland Clinic, Duke University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Southern California (USC) will benefit from the distribution of $261 million to each of the four foundations that were the recipients of gifts of stock from Thomas Lord, who led the family-owned company until his death in 1989.

Lord’s estate plan created a holding company, Jura Corporation, which owned all of the voting stock and most of the non-voting stock of the LORD Corporation, as well as four foundations which, in turn, owned a significant part of Jura: the Lord Foundation of California, which supports USC; the Lord Foundation of Massachusetts, which supports MIT; the Lord Foundation of North Carolina, which supports Duke; and the Lord Foundation of Ohio, which supports Cleveland Clinic. 

LORD Corporation, which was founded in Erie, Pa., and is now based in Cary, N.C., grew to sales of more than $1 billion in 2018. It was recently purchased by Parker Hannifin Corporation for $3.675 billion, triggering the distribution of the proceeds to the four foundations.

Since their establishment in the early 1980s, the Lord foundations have already provided a total of approximately $200 million to the four institutions for education and research.

“When developing his estate plan, Tom Lord identified research institutions that shared his vision of continuous learning and innovation,” said Lt. Gen. Frederick McCorkle, USMC (Ret), president of Jura Corporation. “We are thrilled his legacy of developing new products to solve the world’s problems will continue.”

“For 95 years, LORD Corporation transformed innovative ideas into materials and solutions to move every person in the world,” said Ed Auslander, LORD’s former president & CEO. “Consistent with Tom Lord’s deep-rooted values and social responsibility, he leaves a permanent mark on using knowledge and an entrepreneurial spirit to solve technological challenges, making the impossible real.”

The distribution of more than $1 billion from the four foundations to their respective institutions, which is expected to be completed following required approvals, is believed to be one of the largest single allocations of its kind.

* .  *   *


“Cleveland Clinic was founded on the ideal that innovation, research and teaching are integral components of patient care,” said Tom Mihaljevic, M.D., CEO and President of Cleveland Clinic. “The Lord Foundation’s generous distributions allow us to continue tackling today’s most complex medical challenges, discovering the next breakthroughs and improving lives worldwide.”


“The Lord Foundation’s exceptional support for Duke will transform our efforts to address the world’s most intractable problems,” said Duke President Vincent E. Price. “From the foundation’s earliest investments in our Pratt School of Engineering to this truly visionary distribution, Tom Lord has left a lasting legacy on Duke’s campus, one that will continue to improve the lives of our students, faculty, staff and those who benefit from their work, for many decades to come.”


“Thomas Lord and his successors at LORD Corporation have pioneered a distinctive strategy for giving back to society,” says MIT President L. Rafael Reif. “Their generosity to all four institutions is remarkable. And the value of the distribution is magnified because it comes with great flexibility, giving institutions the nimbleness to seize opportunities and address needs that can be hard to cover through traditional philanthropy. We are tremendously grateful.”


“We are so grateful for the remarkable vision of Thomas Lord and for the generosity of his enduring support for the research and innovation mission of our university,” said USC President Carol L. Folt. “We will honor that legacy by using funding that USC receives from the Lord Foundation of California to drive transformative innovation and scientific advances that will benefit society.”