Lambda Legal Receives Historic Bequest from Ric Weiland Estate

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His gift goes beyond dollars --it is a gift of faith in our future work for equality'
February 25, 2008

(New York, February 25, 2008) — Lambda Legal has been honored by the estate of Seattle philanthropist Ric Weiland with a bequest of over $11-million — the largest ever received by Lambda Legal, to be paid out over eight years.

Weiland was a high school friend and classmate of Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen, and was one of the company's first employees. A generous contributor and long-time supporter of Lambda Legal and other organizations, he established a $46 million fund for 10 LGBT and HIV civil rights organizations. Lambda Legal's share of the fund represents the high regard Weiland had for the organization.

"Every time I spoke with Ric, he was thoroughly up to date on our legal and educational work, and we talked about his commitment to the LGBT community," said Lambda Legal Executive Director Kevin Cathcart. "His death was a terrible loss. But it is no surprise that his generosity will live on. At Lambda Legal, we are honored by the great respect he had for our work, reflected in this tremendous bequest. He set a new standard for vision and philanthropy for our movement, but I knew him well enough to know that nothing would make him happier than to see his gift matched or exceeded by the gifts of others.

"His gift goes beyond dollars — it is a gift of faith in our future work for equality," Cathcart continued. "We intend to live up to his faith in us, and hope that both his and our legacies will continue to have an impact for many years to come."

Lambda Legal will use the approximately $1.4 million it will receive each year over the next 8 years to implement the "Weiland Initiative" to strengthen and expand its legal and educational work, winning more battles for the LGBT community and people with HIV, and moving our community closer to equality. This year, it will equal approximately one-tenth of Lambda Legal's overall budget.

Weiland died in June of 2006 at the age of 53. He is survived by his partner, Mike Schaefer.

Lambda Legal is inspired by Weiland's work as a philanthropist and visionary. His extraordinary gift has the potential to inspire the entire community to follow his lead — to give generously and work tirelessly for equality.


Contact: Jason Howe 213-382-7600 ext: 247;



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