The Commodore was not the symbol of philanthropy, despite having so much money! But, his descendants through time contributed money and/or resources to various causes and institutions.
Vanderbilt University – before he died, Cornelius desired to give Central University in Nashville, TN with an endowment. After he died, his son William Henry carried out the gift and added money – for a total of about 1.2 million. This apparently was the largest endowment given to any Southern Methodist institution.
Vanderbilt Clinic — gifted by the four sons of William Henry to The College of Physicians and Surgeons, now Columbia University.
Shelburne Museum – located in Shelburne, Vermont, the museum was founded in 1947 Electra (Havemeyer) Webb, wife of J. Watson Webb. J. Watson was the son of the Commodore’s granddaughter Eliza Osgood Vanderbilt and husband William Webb Sr.
Sloane Maternity Hospital – presented to the College of Physicians and Surgeons by Emily Vanderbilt Sloan in 1886, daughter of William Henry Vanderbilt.
Whitney Museum of Modern Art – founded by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. In 1931, she donated a large collection of more art objects, and purchased some art, for its founding. Gertrude was a great-granddaughter of the Commodore.