Leon and Toby Cooperman of Short Hills have made the single largest gift in the history of Saint Barnabas Medical Center, pledging $25 million toward the Saint Barnabas Medical Center West Wing Initiative.
The gift by The Leon and Toby Cooperman Family Foundation, one of the largest ever to a New Jersey hospital, will go toward creation of a 200,000-square-foot, five-floor Cooperman Family Pavilion in Livingston to advance the provision of community care.
The couple “have provided the instrumental stimulus to engage the community for the successful future of Saint Barnabas Medical Center,” said Barnabas Health president and CEO Barry H. Ostrowsky. “The Cooperman family’s generosity is unparalleled in our history and assures our neighbors of the importance and magnitude of this project. We are exceptionally grateful.”
The pavilion will feature a floor dedicated to a new neonatal intensive care unit and new units on three floors offering all private rooms. The ground floor will offer cardiac, vascular, pulmonary, and electroencephalography diagnostic services as well as a new expanded Surgery Center, a parking garage that connects to the new building, and two new parking areas.
“We are determined to build on our exceptional reputation by developing a world-class infrastructure that represents the level of excellence our patients deserve and have come to expect from Saint Barnabas,” said John F. Bonamo, Saint Barnabas Medical Center president and CEO. “We are tremendously honored and fortunate to have the support of Leon and Toby Cooperman.”
Leon Cooperman has been involved with the medical center for close to three decades, first as a trustee and ultimately as chair of the center’s foundation. He is now the chair emeritus.
The Coopermans, longtime major donors to the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, are signatories to the Warren Buffett Giving Pledge. “Next to my children and grandchildren, helping others is the most enjoyable part of life,” said Leon Cooperman, who added that he and Toby feel it is “our moral imperative to give others the opportunity to pursue the American dream by sharing our financial success.”
Leon, a plumber’s son who grew up in the South Bronx, was the first member of his family to graduate college. The majority of his schooling was in the Bronx public school system. He worked his way through Hunter College and received his MBA from Columbia University Graduate School of Business. He worked at Goldman, Sachs & Co. for 25 years before launching his own private investment firm, Omega Advisors.
Toby, a graduate of Hunter College with a master’s in special education, recently retired from a career as a special-education specialist at the Early Childhood Learning Center in Chatham. She has served as a board member at JCC MetroWest for more than 30 years and as an officer and board member of Jewish Service for the Developmentally Disabled and JESPY House. She also served as a board member of the Jewish Community Foundation of MetroWest.