ruth-lilly-philanthropist.jpgHer generosity in life was legendary: Ruth Lilly, the last surviving great-grandchild of pharmaceutical magnate Eli Lilly, died Wednesday night at 94. … Over the course of her life, Ms. Lilly gave away the bulk of her inheritance, an estimated $800 million.

She gave to a wide variety of causes — colleges, hospitals, the National Easter Seals Society. But it was her unexpected donation of $100-million in 2002 to an obscure, Chicago-based poetry association that revealed something deeply personal: Ms. Lilly was a poet at heart. Not only did she read it, she wrote it, though to little acclaim.

The unusual gift sustains Garrison Keillor’s daily radio poetry readings on The Writer’s Almanac, sponsors a poetry professorship at Indiana University and honors top poets with prestigious annual awards.

(From the The Indianapolis Star via NPR )


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