"I give this gift in honor of the founder of The Public Theater, my friend and mentor Joseph Papp, and in remembrance of one of the theater's board members and greatest supporters, my friend Nora Ephron," Streep said Thursday.
"Meryl is as great a citizen as she is an actor," said the theater's artistic director, Oskar Eustis. "Joe Papp founded The Public in the belief that great theater belonged to all the people. It means an enormous amount to us that the greatest actor of our time supports that mission."
Streep has appeared in the theater's productions of "Trelawny of the Wells," "Henry V," "Romeo and Juliet" and "Mother Courage and Her Children."
She and writer-director Ephron collaborated on the films "Julie and Julia," "Heartburn" and "Silkwood." Ephron died in June from complications of cancer.