Categories
Donation

Unknown Millionaire Passes Away, Leaves $37 Million to Charity

Few friends of Raymond Suckling knew that he was a millionaire before his death. The retired mechanical engineer lived modestly in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, drove a used car, and liked re-reading dime-store novels from the 1960s.

Suckling was a veteran of WWII, and though he rarely let his friends pay for dinner on nights on the town, almost no one knew that he had inherited a moderate fortune from his father, the late CEO and Vice President of Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company.

“Others in his situation might have chosen a more extravagant lifestyle,” said Buddy Hallet, the son of Betty Hallet, who was a longtime companion of Suckling’s. “He was a good man.”

Suckling passed away in 2014 at the age of 93. It was announced on Wednesday, January 24th, 2018, that his will had left $37.1 million to the Pittsburgh Foundation for charitable causes in the Sewickley area.

It’s the second-largest gift ever given to the foundation, succeeded only by Charles Kaufman’s $50 million bequest in 2010. Kaufman and Suckling both retired from local chemical and materials company Koppers Co.

Suckling’s gift, which was finalized in December after some time stuck in probate difficulties, has been added to the Raymond C. and Martha S. Suckling Fund, established by him in ’93 in honor of his parents. He had previously contributed a little over half a million to the fund.

The new gift will be spread out for years to come at $1.5 million a year, split between the local library, the hospital, and the Pittsburgh Foundation’s 100 Percent Pittsburgh initiative, which allocates funds to local nonprofits for people in need.

“This is an extraordinary bequest from a truly extraordinary man,” said Maxwell King, the president and chief executive of the Pittsburgh Foundation.

Carolyn Toth, executive director of the Sewickley Library, called Suckling “Our own Andrew Carnegie.”

Categories
Organizations

Children Read to Cats in Adorable ‘Book Buddies’ Program

An animal shelter in Pennsylvania came up with a creative way to benefit both children and animals.

The Animal Rescue League located in Berks County has a Book Buddies program where school-aged children read to cats. Kristi Rodriguez, volunteer coordinator at Animal Rescue League, originally came up with the idea. She credits her son with providing the inspiration that she needed to implement the program.

“I have a 10-year-old son at home who has struggled with reading for quite some time now,” Rodriquez told The Huffington Post. “It affects his self-esteem as well because he’s not comfortable reading in front of his classmates. Working at the shelter, you come to realize that the animals who interact with the children in the program don’t care what their reading level and what their skills are, they’re just happy to have that companionship with the children.”

Soon after Book Buddies launched, Animal Rescue League posted photos of the program online. One of the photos went viral after an online user shared the photo on Reddit. The photo shows a school-aged boy reading a book with a cat under his arm. The cat appears to be smiling and reading right along with him.

The photo became so popular that droves of people began visiting the Animal Rescue League website, causing it to crash. But workers and volunteers were more than okay with that. The shelter posted the following status to social media:

“We are thrilled that a post from a friend of our Book Buddies program is going crazy on Reddit! We know lots of people are trying to access our website and the high traffic is slowing things down, but we hope you’ll be patient!”

Rodriguez says that the program has increased her son’s comprehension, fluidity, and even his self-esteem. She also reports that her son enjoys reading now. He is also more compassionate than ever before.

Categories
News

Woman Dies After Allegedly Trying to Steal From A Clothing Donation Bin

A Pennsylvania woman has died after getting her arm stuck in a clothing donation bin. Police believe that the woman, who has been identified as 56-year-old Judy Permar, was attempting to reach down into the bin to steal items when her arm got caught in the contraption. The incident occurred Sunday, February 6.

According to news outlet PennLive, Permar used a stepping stool to reach inside the bin and pull the items out. During her endeavor, the stool collapsed and her arm became lodged in the bin. Officials say Permar arrived at the bin around 2 a.m. Her body wasn’t discovered until about 8:30 a.m.

The coroner has ruled that her death was caused by a combination of blunt force trauma and hypothermia. Permar suffered a broken arm and a broken wrist.

Interestingly enough, police say that Permar pulled up to the bin in a black Hummer. Her vehicle choice would seem to imply that she was well off.

So then why did she attempt to steal from a donation bin? That’s a question that still has authorities puzzled, especially since it likely wasn’t her first time doing it. According to police chief Brian Hollerbush, authorities received a call back in November about a woman in a black Hummer stealing from a donation drop box.

But for as strange as it is, the Washington Post reports that this isn’t the first time someone has died while attempting to steal from a donation bin. The news outlet points to a similar incident that took place in October 2015, when a 58-year-old New Jersey man was found dead after he allegedly tried to steal items from the drop box. Other donation bin fatalities have occurred in San Bernardino County and Sydney.

While it’s certainly tragic that people have lost their lives this way, there is a karmic element to it. Stealing is never okay. Furthermore, stealing from a charity of any sort is the lowest of the low.