Unheralded Donor Leaves $28-Million to D.C. Family Charity

A Washington, D.C., railroad heir who lived quietly at the Watergate building for 40 years and never registered in the city’s social and philanthropic scenes has left the bulk of his fortune to a local social service charity and the city’s symphony and opera companies, The Washington Post reports.

Family Matters of Greater Washington is to formally announce Wednesday the $28-million bequest from Richard Herman, who died on Nov. 13 at the age of 100. Mr. Herman also bequeathed $7.5-million each to the National Symphony Orchestra and the Washington National Opera, the Kennedy Center said Tuesday.

The gift to Family Matters, to which Mr. Herman had given modestly since the late 1960s, is more than double the group’s annual budget and represents 60 percent of his estate. The charity said it will create an arts program for seniors and youth in the name of the donor, the son of a high-ranking official with the Southern Railway system who never married or had children.

Return to Top