Central Park
Songquan Deng / Shutterstock.com

October 23, 2012; Source: Forbes

John Paulson makes good use of Central Park, running or cycling there on many days, and in appreciation, he has pledged $100 million to the Central Park Conservancy. If fulfilled, it will be the largest contribution ever to a public park and the largest contribution that Paulson, a billionaire hedge fund manager, has ever made to anything. Paulson says that he wants his gift to help maintain the park as an “urban oasis.”

The New York Times reports that Paulson, who sits on the board of the Conservancy, has a lifelong relationship with the park and quotes him on his motivation for the pledge: “Walking through the park in different seasons, it kept coming back that in my mind Central Park is the most deserving of all of New York’s cultural institutions. And I wanted the amount to make a difference. The park is very large, and its endowment is relatively small.” A former parks commissioner commented that the gift will help see to it that the park is not, as the Times puts it, “loved to death” by its 40 million annual visitors.

Paulson made much of his money by betting on the