A Florida court has rejected estate litigation challenging a $40 million charitable gift made by the estate of a deceased female philanthropist. She indicated in wills and trusts that this amount from her accumulated fortune should be given after her death to the Community Foundation of Broward to add to its existing $100 million endowment. The foundation will use $7 million of the funds each year to award grants to a number of groups engaged in serving residents of Broward.

The woman, who was 98-years-old, had made generous gifts to the foundation during her lifetime also, as well as doing various work with it and other non-profit groups in the local area. She suddenly died three years ago after becoming ill and had no family to survive her.

Parties in the case concerning her charitable bequest included some former personal assistants who had worked for her, a number of her financial advisors, the foundation and Citibank, as well as Citibank subsidiaries. The resolution of the court case will allow the foundation to receive the entirety of the bequest, which made it the sole recipient of the assets of her estate.

The decedent, born in 1911, had a longtime tradition of making charitable gifts and trying to assist those in need. During the Depression, she served as the head volunteer at a hospital, helping to provide needed care to newborn children, and also was involved in delivering clothing and food donations to people who could not afford them. At the same time, she served as a Sunday school teacher.

Her gift to the foundation, the group stated, will be divided into three components. One will provide grants to local nonprofits specified by the decedent, so long as the foundation determines they remain effective, while a second part will support a number of capital projects. The remaining funds will help the foundation to address pressing needs in the Broward area as they are identified.

Luis E. Barreto