Billionaire Ackman donates $3.25 million for ambulances in Ukraine

FILE PHOTO: A firetruck and ambulance, said to have been destroyed during the war in Ukraine, are installed in front of the European Parliament, in Brussels

By Svea Herbst-Bayliss

(Reuters) - Billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman has pledged $3.25 million to help buy more than a dozen ambulances for Ukraine as it defends itself against Russia's invasion, according to a fellow investor who cited a conversation with him.

Ackman's donation will cover the purchase of 15 specially equipped Toyota 4x4 Land Cruiser ambulances and the costs of operating them on the front lines, investor Whitney Tilson, who is on the advisory board of Ackman's charity, Pershing Square Foundation, wrote in an email to his friends and professional contacts. The email was reviewed by Reuters.

"I had breakfast with my college buddy Bill Ackman this morning, walked him through the attached slide deck I put together about my ambulances-for-Ukraine mission, and on the spot he agreed to donate $3.25 million," Tilson wrote in the email, dated Feb. 25.

Ackman's hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management oversees roughly $16 billion in assets.

A spokesperson for Ackman could not be reached for comment. Tilson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tilson has been leading an effort to buy ambulances for Ukraine that will be operated by humanitarian aid group MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station), which is based in Malta.

The Land Cruisers cost roughly $116,000 each and come with an extended roof that let medical personnel stand up as they treat patients.

Ackman, whose great-grandfather emigrated to the United States from Ukraine, has an estimated net worth of $3.5 billion, according to Forbes. Ackman and his wife, Neri Oxman, have pledged to give away the majority of their fortune and have supported causes ranging from medical research to relief to earthquake-stricken Haiti to Harvard University's crew team.

(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)