Portrait of an Anonymous Donor

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November 10, 2011; Source: Daily HeraldIt is perhaps a counter-cultural move these days to give anonymously; in fact, this seems to be the age of the garrulous and sometimes anything but humble high level donor. So when a donor just gives a chunk of money and eschews recognition, it is a pleasant change of pace.

In this case a man has donated $250,000 to Maryville Academy, an organization that serves girls with mental illnesses and mental disabilities. The money was used to build a sanctuary and park for the girls and it also funded a once in a lifetime trip to Disney Land for 14 of the girls. The donor, who is a Russian Jewish immigrant became a multimillionaire before he was 30 through the sale of an internet company he and some colleagues has built. He is donating to the Catholic charity because he feels that it is doing much needed work not being done by others. Jewish charitable tradition highly values anonymity.

“I give to a few causes I know very well and can be involved in,” he says, “The cause is more important than any recognition…I’m more interested in seeing the kids get the benefit. I’d rather be in the background and see them become successful.”

He feels that he has been lucky in his own life and that his donations are a form of giving back. –Ruth McCambridge