Acts of Kindness

Single Social Worker Wore Duct-Taped Shoes And Saves $11M, Donates It All When He Dies

January 8th, 2019

When a Washington social worker died of cancer in Jan. 2018, his friends were amazed to find out that he had a fortune he’d never revealed — and it all went to children’s charities.

Alan Naiman, 63, was a social worker with the state. He was extremely familiar with the kind of people who didn’t have a lot of others looking out for them, either from agencies or from family.

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KUOW Source: KUOW

Among his friends and acquaintances, Naiman was known for being extremely frugal.

In fact, he spent so little money that some of his acquaintances found it funny. He bought his clothes at local thrift stores and duct-taped his shoes when they began to fall apart. By all accounts, his lifestyle didn’t make any sense considering his annual salary was substantial at about $67,000.

He once talked about the possibility of traveling or moving to a nicer house, one of his friends told the media. But that all stopped when he received a diagnosis: he had cancer.

After that, all he wanted to do was give his fortune to those who needed it most. He spent time doing research on different charities.

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Children's Hospital of Wisconsin Source: Children's Hospital of Wisconsin

Naiman had a passion for children in the foster system.

Not only was he a social worker, but he had also been a foster parent himself. On top of that, Naiman had had a disabled brother, Daniel, who passed away in 2013 and also affected his experience of people in need.

“Growing up as a kid with an older, disabled brother kind of colored the way he looked at things,” said Naiman’s friend Susan Madsen.

Throughout the end of his life, Naiman was given hope by the idea that his money would go to those who were in need. He was excited at the prospect of helping others in a significant way.

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iLoveKent Source: iLoveKent

One of his biggest donations was to Pediatric Interim Care Center, a Washington charity that provides aid to drug-addicted newborns.

“We would never dream that something like this would happen to us,” said Barbara Drennen, founder of Pediatric Interim Care Center. “I would have loved to have had him see the babies he’s protecting.”

As a social worker, Naiman had worked with Drennen and the Care Center in the past when he was trying to find a place for an infant who needed care.

“We first became aware of Alan’s generosity last fall when we received a $10,000 donation from him online,” read a statement on the Center’s website. “Thinking that large amount might be a mistake, we called him to make sure he had entered the right number of zeroes! Yes, he told us, the donation was right, and there would be more to come in the future.”

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New York Post Source: New York Post

Naiman also gave money to a number of other charities, including a foster care charity called Treehouse.

While he was still alive, Naiman donated $5,000. After his death, they received an additional donation of $900,000.

Other charities included Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center, which offers equine therapy for the disabled and WestSide Baby, a charity that collects necessities for low-income families. There were also many others, some of which said they had never met Naiman. Additionally, he donated to Disabled American Veterans as well as his parents’ Catholic church.

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Little Bit Source: Little Bit

Naiman’s money came from a number of different sources.

In addition to a substantial inheritance from his late parents, he worked multiple jobs and constantly put money away, finding ways to cut corners anywhere he could. He also invested and frequently worked as many as three jobs at one time.

“The frugality that he lived through, that he committed to in his life, was for this,” said Treehouse Chief Development Officer Jessica Ross. “It’s really a gift to all of us to see that pure demonstration of philanthropy and love.”

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United Way of King County Source: United Way of King County

Naiman died on Jan. 8, 2018.

Already, his donations are providing new opportunities for the charities who received them. The Pediatric Interim Care Center was able to completely pay off the mortgage on its office location. This means that they will be able to stay in that location and continue to provide care for years to come. They also bought a new vehicle for the purpose of transporting sick and fragile babies.

As for Treehouse, they will be able to expand their counseling programs with Naiman’s generous donation. His final acts have already been felt by the people he was most passionate about.

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Social worker leaves $11M as surprise gift to children's charities

A Washington state social worker died of cancer at age 63, left most of his $11 million estate to children's charities that help the poor, sick, disabled and abandoned. https://on.wfmy.com/2EQQ9JG

Posted by WFMY News 2 on Friday, December 28, 2018

Source: NPR, Associated Press, WFMY News 2

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