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Dublin: 10 °C Thursday 24 April, 2014

US man who wore threadbare clothes leaves secret fortune to charity

Jack MacDonald, who left $188 million to three institutions after his death at the age of 98, was known for cutting out money-off vouchers and wearing jumpers with holes in them.

Image: My will via Shutterstock

JACK MACDONALD, AN elderly man known for cutting out money-saving vouchers and wearing jumpers with holes in them, has left a staggering donation of $188 million (€137m) to three institutions in the United States.

The trust, the largest donation made in the state of Washington this year, went to Seattle Children’s Research Institute, the University of Washington School of Law, and the Salvation Army, according to The Seattle Times.

MacDonald maintained an image of a man of little means. He frequently rode the bus and stocked up on bargain-priced food at the supermarket. Only a handful of people knew that he had amassed a fortune investing in the stock market over a 60-year period.

“He was amazing,” his stepdaughter, Regen Dennis, said to The Seattle Times. “He didn’t trust a lot of other people to do his research; he directed what he wanted bought, and he really knew what he wanted.”

Macdonald, who died in September at the age of 98, donated to many different causes throughout his lifetime, including an anonymous gift of $150,000 to the Canadian town of Elora, where his father immigrated from Scotland.

This particular gift, however, is setting state and national records.

Forty per cent of the $188 million is going to Seattle Children’s Research Institute, though MacDonald had no children of his own. It is the largest single gift ever made to paediatric research in the US.

Another 30 per cent of the trust will go to the University of Washington School of Law, the largest gift to the law school in history, and the largest estate gift to the university as a whole.

The remaining 30 per cent will go the Salvation Army, which MacDonald chose because his father, Frederick, worked with many blue-collar workers.

“He felt really good about what he was doing with his money,” Dennis said, “and our family feels good about what he’s doing with his money.”

- Madeline Stone

Read: Cork mother has ten days to raise €35,000 for twins’ surgery >

Read: 75 years ago this week, this man saved 669 children from Nazi death camps >

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