The City's $1 Billion Charity

November 26, 1990

During the last years of his life, 82-year-old billionaire Harry Weinberg may have had the reputation of being Baltimore biggest absentee landlord and an obstacle to downtown revitalization efforts.

But when he left the bulk of his holdings to the charitable trust he created, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, he carried out an act of philanthropy equaled by few.

With a bequest of an estimated $900 million to $1 billion, the Weinberg Foundation instantly became one of the country's 12 largest charitable organizations -- and easily Baltimore's largest philanthropic enterprise.

Its mission will be to serve the poor, and it is expected to spend up to $45 million a year to do so. Under the terms of its corporate charter, 25 percent of each year's expenditures must go to charities whose beneficiaries are predominantly Jewish and needy. A second 25 percent will go to charities whose beneficiaries are gentile and needy. The remaining 50 percent of the funds to be allocated by the foundation will be given to any other charity that helps the needy.

The charter requires that recipients use the money to benefit people "whose financial resources are less than the financial resources of 50 percent of the individuals in the relevant community."

The money is to be split between operating expenses and capital improvements.

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