Ruth Lilly, Who Gave Away About $800 Million, Has Died : The Two-Way Philanthropist Ruth Lilly dies at 94.
NPR logo Ruth Lilly, Who Gave Away About $800 Million, Has Died

Ruth Lilly, Who Gave Away About $800 Million, Has Died

As The Indianapolis Star reports, her generosity in life was legendary -- making it all that more important to note her passing:

Ruth Lilly, the noted philanthropist and last surviving great-grandchild of pharmaceutical magnate Eli Lilly, died Wednesday night at 94, a family spokesman said this morning. ... Over the course of her life, Ms. Lilly gave away the bulk of her inheritance, an estimated $800-million.

She passed away in Indianapolis, where she lived.

The Star adds that:

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.