Jay Gould donated to numerous organisations, including the Presbyterian Church, New York University, the City University of New York, and Mount Vernon. Mr. Gould preferred to keep his personal life extremely secret, and only his closest friends were aware of his charitable contributions to society.
Together, Jay Gould’s wife and children selected which charitable organisations they would support. Mr. Gould arranged a daily family meeting at which his children may offer charitable donation alternatives. Helen Gould, the eldest daughter, was renowned for her humanitarian beliefs and donated a library to New York University. In response to a request from his sister, Gould provided funding towards the construction of a school in Camden, New York. Gould’s religious convictions compelled him to give large contributions to the Presbyterian Church over the years, including free passage for clergy on the railroads he owned. He generously donated eighty acres to the Mount Vernon estate. Additionally, Mr. Gould contributed generously to the victims of the great Chicago fire of 1871.
According to W.T. Stead’s “The American Review of Reviewers,” Thurlow Weed, a prominent philanthropist who worked for Mr. Gould, described him as a “continuous and generous gift” whose only requirement was that his benefactions not be made public.