Shakespeare’s line, "Blest are those whose blood and judgement are so well commingled" could well be applied to Holger Crafoord.
He spoke often from the heart and expressed himself generously. For many years, he played the part of a true philanthropist.
Lots of institutions, particularly in Lund, received significant donations, of which the Crafoord Foundation is a prime example. By 2013, the initial nominal donation to the foundation of SEK 3 million (made in 1980) had grown to be worth SEK 2.6 billion.
To date, the foundation has donated over SEK 1.2 billion for scientific research as well as for children and young people, the disabled, people in need and for cultural and sporting purposes.
According to the donor's wishes, the main aim of the Foundation is to support scientific research and education.
No priority is given to any particular scientific discipline, but fields such as medicine, natural sciences and technology, which tend to have high materials costs, have naturally often weighed heavy in terms of the sums of money allocated. However, the foundation's biggest single commitment is in the social sciences: the Holger Crafoord Centre in the School of Economics and Management at Lund University was built between 1984 and 1997 with the aid of SEK 87 million from the Foundation.
Larger donations made by the foundation over the years include the Language and Literature centre which received SEK 40 million, the rebuilding of Lund’s Cultural Museum, which received SEK 20 million, and contributions to several professorships at Lund University. Each year, the foundation makes a contribution to the Royal Academy of Science, in addition to the Crafoord prize.
Another example of a recipient institution is Locus Medicus Lundensis, which manages the property in Lund that was Holger Crafoord's private residence for many years.
When Holger Crafoord moved out of his house in Tunavägen, he donated it to a newly formed foundation for the purpose and charged with owning and running the building as a retreat for the Lund-Malmö Medical Society and the Medical Society at Lund University.
The Society for Cultural History in Lund also benefited from Holger Crafoord's personal generosity. The eulogy by the Museum of Cultural History's board on the occasion of his passing is worth quoting here:
"His personality combined apparently conflicting qualities - the ability to take an objective, practical overview and a passionate commitment to what he considered worth cultivating. He was a brilliant example of the great power that can be developed by those who have chosen to stand on the bridge uniting what are known as 'the two cultures' - that of technology and that of the liberal arts."
"With his analytical ability and his imagination, he fused his experience of these worlds and gave us his invaluable support with a generous hand and never failing interest."
There are numerous other examples of Crafoord's generosity.
The most extensive is Anna-Greta and Holger Crafoord's Endowment, which was donated to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1980 for contributions in mathematics, astronomy, geosciences (particularly ecology) and biosciences.
The Crafoord Prize may also be awarded to someone who has made outstanding contributions in rheumatology. The Crafoord Prize of SEK 4 million is awarded annually to international researchers and, since the disciplines are chosen so as to complement the Nobel Prizes, the Crafoord Prize has come to enjoy an excellent reputation among the global scientific community. The Prize is awarded in person by the King of Sweden.
But human consideration need not involve large sums of money. In Holger Crafoord's obituary, an employee at Gambro described how, "he was always good and generous towards the staff".
"We could send our bowling bill straight to him, and there was never any stinginess." Throughout his working life, Holger Crafoord was accessible to everyone who wished to come into direct contact with him. He remained a completely ordinary person.
Holger Crafoord was appreciated in broad circles and his CV illustrates his versatility. Over the years, many organizations benefited from his exceptional knowledge and experience: the savings bank, employers' organizations, chambers of commerce, boards of companies, etc. Two streets have been named after him: Holger-Crafoord-Strasse in Hochheim am Main and in Hechingen in Germany. The list of his merit badges is long, ending with the Illis Quorum medal of the twelfth class, posthumously awarded by the Swedish Government.
Holger Crafoord was one of Sweden's great business builders, in the service of the community.