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Gay man bequeaths $65 million to LGBT groups

by PageOneQ

Ric Weiland, one of Microsoft's first five employees, has left tens of millions of dollars of his estate to a fund to benefit eleven LGBT charities, PageOneQ has learned. The bequest includes multi-million dollar gifts to Seattle's Pride Foundation, Lambda Legal, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

The bequest, the largest ever in support of the LGBT movement, will establish a fund at the Pride Foundation in the amount of $65 million. The largest will support the foundation's grantmaking programs, an amount the Seattle Times has reported as $19 million. An additional $46 million in the fund will be distributed to national LGBT charities. The Pride Foundation provides scholarships and grants to LGBT students and organizations in the Pacific Northwest. Weiland, a Seattle resident, was a former board member and volunteer at the organization.

After the Pride Foundation grant, the second largest gift in the bequest was to Lambda Legal, an organization that seeks LGBT equality through legal work and advocacy in state and federal courts. The gift to Lambda, in excess of $10 million, like the other bequests, will be distributed over the course of eight years.

Weiland was known in his lifetime as a generous supporter of charities, including the Pride Foundation, Seattle's United Way, and the National Audubon Society.

Among other groups, bequests were left to Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays and the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network of $1.6 million and $600,000 respectively. A full listing of the estate's gifts, including large bequests to NGLTF, AmFar and others will be released in a statement later today.

Weiland, who was high school friends with Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen, was remembered by Allen as "a good friend, a terrific computer programmer and a very generous man," in a statement to be released by the Pride Foundation and obtained by PageOneQ. "His gift to the Pride Foundation demonstrates his compassion and dedication to the community, and I'm very proud to have had him as a friend."

"Ric's gift is a testament to his generosity of spirit and an example of the generosity he showed during his lifetime," explained the head of one group, contacted by PageOneQ, of its pending multi-million dollar gift.

Another chief executive who spoke with PageOneQ confirmed that his group was to receive a large bequest, but reserved comment until the gift had been formally announced.

Weiland, who committed suicide by self-inflicted gunshot in June of 2006, is survived by his partner Mike Schaefer, and nieces and nephews.


Originally published on Saturday February 23, 2008.

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