No, this is not a post about Melissa Etheridge. It is about something I had the honor of working on the past few weeks - the largest bequest ever to LGBT and AIDS/HIV groups.
Ric Weiland, one of the first employees at Microsoft, has left an unparalleled legacy to our community - $65 million dollars to ten of our best and brightest community organizations.
Ric had a license plate personalized for him while he was living in Albuquerque founding Microsoft - in 1977.
I think it says it all. The release about his amazing and historic gift is after the jump. And it should be an inspiration all of us to give what we can to the groups that matter to our lives.
I urge you to go to The Pride Foundation's site to learn more and be inspired, motivated and moved to give what you can.
Ric Weiland Leaves $65 Million to Support Gay Rights and HIV/AIDS Organizations
Largest Single Bequest Ever to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Movement By Early Microsoft Employee
Pride Foundation to Distribute Weiland's Groundbreaking Bequest
(Seattle, WA) - Pride Foundation of Seattle is honored to announce the establishment of a sizable new fund from the estate of Ric Weiland. Mr. Weiland's gift of $65 million is the largest single bequest ever to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement. As one of Microsoft's first employees, having joined the company that was started by two of his high school classmates Bill Gates and Paul Allen, Ric Weiland used philanthropy to strengthen his community by giving generously to many organizations. When Weiland died in June of 2006, he made sure that the work he cared about in his life would continue, leaving the vast majority of his estate to LGBT, HIV/AIDS, environmental and education organizations.
Pride Foundation is honored to be one of the organizations receiving a tremendous bequest from Ric Weiland for our grants, scholarships and leadership development work and for distribution to organizations working to advance LGBT equality.
"Ric was one of Pride Foundation's closest supporters, not just as a donor, but as a board member and volunteer," said Audrey Haberman, executive director of the Pride Foundation. "All of us feel such a tremendous loss with him gone. Ric's bequest will do what he always wanted-inspire others to give to the causes they care about to the full extent that they can."
A modest man, Weiland could have easily started his own foundation, but chose instead to work through existing national and local organizations. He was known for carefully vetting the charities he supported and shunning public accolades. Weiland intended his gifts to inspire people to work together for positive change and to strengthen the communities that they touched.
"Ric was a good friend, a terrific computer programmer and a very generous man," said Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft and friend of Weiland. "His gift to the Pride Foundation demonstrates his compassion and dedication to the community, and I'm very proud to have had him as a friend. He will be sorely missed but his legacy lives on through the work of Pride and the charitable organizations it supports."
Through his estate, Weiland established a fund at Pride Foundation that will provide $46 million over the next eight years to 10 national LGBT and HIV/AIDS organizations that he personally selected. In addition, he
bequeathed $19 million directly to Pride Foundation for our scholarships and grants supporting the Northwest's LGBT community.
The following organizations will be receiving funding from the Weiland Designated Fund at Pride Foundation:
- amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research
- Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)
- Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
- In The Life
- International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)
- Lambda Legal
- National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
- Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)
- Project Inform
- Servicemembers Legal Defense Network
"Ric gave scores of LGBT groups significant resources to achieve real change during his lifetime. He did not seek the spotlight-or even acknowledgement-as he gave away tens of millions of dollars," said Urvashi
Vaid, executive director of the national Arcus Foundation, who also knew Ric as a friend. "With this extraordinary gift, Ric's legacy challenges each of us to commit more fully to our own community and to realize that there is much more still to be done."
Ric Weiland died in June of 2006, at the age of 53, committing suicide after struggling with depression. He is survived by his partner, Mike Schaefer of Seattle and his nieces and nephews.
About the Pride Foundation
Pride Foundation is a community foundation serving the Northwest's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Pride Foundation makes grants to organizations and gives educational scholarships to students in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. Founded in 1985, Pride Foundation has
given more than $7.2 million to over 500 organizations and 522 students in an effort to strengthen the LGBT community. To learn more about Pride Foundation and the 10 beneficiaries of the Weiland Designated Fund, please visit www.pridefoundation.org.