People often times say: don’t forget the little guy. It’s a saying that many Texas entrepreneurs keep in mind because when they finally strike it rich, they want to make sure to show their appreciation to all the people who helped them get to the top.

Often time people show their appreciation while they are living, but others, such as one Indiana businessman, chose instead to show his appreciation for his entire hometown by leaving millions of dollars in his will.

He had always told members of his hometown’s community foundation that he had put them in his will though he never disclosed the size of his gift. It seemed it wasn’t just his will that he was secretive about but his income as well.

“I knew he was taking care of himself and not borrowing from me, but I had no idea he was that successful,” his 94-year-old mother said. Her son, who owned a successful movie production company in Los Angeles, never fully disclosed his job or how much money he had amassed over the years.

After suddenly passing away last October from a heart attack, his family wanted to make sure that the entrepreneur made good on his promise to his hometown. Initially, the amount promised to the city was somewhere around $125 million; but after selling off some real estate, that figure has now grown to an estimated $150 million.

Community foundation staff were left speechless because of the generous gift, pointing out that this donation more than triples the foundation’s holdings. The foundation’s president summed it up by saying that the scale of impact that this gift will have on the community is historic; it will have remarkable effects.


New York Daily News, “Businessman leaves $125M to help hometown,” Christine Roberts, Aug. 29, 2012

Associated Press, “Businessman’s gift to Indiana hometown grows to $150M,” Oct. 10, 2012