Thursday, November 5, 2015

Businessman Bequeaths Estate to Help the Blind

Excerpted from a KQED report:

One morning last year, Bryan Bashin sat down to check his email. One peculiarly short note caught his attention.

“A businessman has passed away. I think you might want to talk to us,” it read.

Bryan directs a nonprofit in San Francisco called the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, so he gets a lot of email about donations. But this one felt different. It came from a group of lawyers handling the estate of a deceased businessman, Donald Sirkin.

When Bryan and the LightHouse’s Director of Development, Jennifer Sachs, checked the LightHouse’s donor database, they found no record of him. Don Sirkin had never donated to the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired before, or used its services.

And yet, in his will, Don Sirkin had left almost his entire estate to the LightHouse, with no explanation.

In the end, the gift totaled over $125 million, more than 15 times the LightHouse’s annual budget. Bryan believes it’s the largest single gift ever given to a blindness organization.

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