Philanthropist Leaves Fortune to D.C. Charity, Symphony, Opera

Philanthropist Leaves Fortune to D.C. Charity, Symphony, Opera

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Richard A Herman - family photoRichard A. Herman lived in the Watergate for more than 40 years and was a longtime patron of the arts, but the shy railroad heir was virtually unknown in Washington social circles for much of his long life.

Family Matters of Greater Washington today announced that Herman, who died in November at 100, left the nonprofit organization 60 percent of his vast estate — $28 million, which the group says is one of the largest gifts ever to a local social service organization.

A longtime donor, Mr. Herman began in 1967 supporting the organization, which recently celebrated its 130th year of improving the lives of those less fortunate in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

The historic donation will also help Family Matters to launch a new series of innovative arts programs for District seniors and youth.

“Our programs have helped serve as an essential safety net for District youth, families and seniors for more than a century,” said Tonya Jackson Smallwood, President and Chief Executive Officer of Family Matters. “We are thrilled to add the healing power of the arts to the list of programming we provide.”

(READ about who else he left his money to in the Washington Post)