Here’s a great story about a woman that left more than $2 million to some local Maine nonprofits.
Ilse Westman kept a low profile.
When she died in August, she didn’t want an obituary in the newspaper, said her longtime friend and attorney, Warren E. Winslow, Jr.
She didn’t want a funeral, either.
But since Westman left more than $2 million to six local organizations, people are slowly learning more about the strong-willed German woman who came to call Maine home.
Westman, who died Aug. 19, left $500,000 each to Bread of Life Ministries, Alfond Cancer Center, The Salvation Army and Kennebec Valley Humane Society, Winslow said.
She also left $25,000 each to the Pine Tree State Arboretum and Maine Public Broadcasting Network…
Although Westman was not actively involved with the organizations she left money to, Winslow said the causes she chose were close to her heart.
“She remembered being hungry in Berlin, so she gave to the Bread of Life,” Winslow said. “She loved the Humane Society, and had a very strong interest in curing cancer.”
The money was given with no strings attached.
“They can use it for whatever they decide,” Winslow said.
$2 million dollars in rural Maine. If it can happen here, it can happen to you or me. (Inland didn’t make her list.)
What if your organization were listed? What would you do with half a million dollars?
One of the organization’s directors is quoted as saying, “One of the ironies in all of this is that some of the very best gifts tend to come from completely unexpected sources.”
That may be. But they wouldn’t have gotten the money if they weren’t doing the right things in the right ways. I’d even bet they were using aspects of the “Get R.E.A.L.” process with people that were close to Mrs. Westman.
What does this say to me? It reminds me to “not grow weary in well doing.” Keep on pursuing excellence in your mission and fundraising. You can’t plan on gifts like this but you just may be able to increase the odds!