Unlike most people, Alan Naiman was thrilled when he was finally old enough to get the seniors discount.
The 63-year-old had always lived frugally, and now the seniors discount presented another way for him to save a buck.
He already wore Costco jeans and bought T-shirts at the grocery store. When he discovered holes in his shoes, he immediately reached for a roll of duct tape. Shashi Karan, a long-time coworker and friend, said:
“He was just that kind of guy that he couldn’t just spend the money. It was just in his nature to save the money and put it aside.”
That’s why, upon his passing, friends and family were shocked to learn he’d donated 11 million dollars to children’s charities!
Naiman had grown up caring for his brother Daniel who was developmentally delayed. People around him believe the experience may have colored his view of the world, providing him with sympathy for kids who were downtrodden or suffering.
At one point, Naiman’s sympathies led him so far as to leave a career in banking in order to become a social worker instead.
Naiman earned $67,000 a year to handle the agency’s after-hours phone calls, at one point working three jobs to get himself established in the field. At the age of 63, the senior wanted to travel or buy a house with a nice view. Sadly, his plans were cut short when he was diagnosed with cancer.
Upon hearing the diagnosis, Naiman immediately started researching charities.
He wanted to make his donations count, and in the end, he chose organizations he had personal experiences with. For example, years ago, when Naiman was starting out as a social worker, he had a fragile baby brought into his office late one night. Because he worked after-hours, it was proving impossible to find the child a home.
In the midst of his desperation, he phoned the Pediatric Interim Care Center (PICC), an organization that cares for drug-addicted babies. Upon receiving his call, a staff member immediately came to save the day.
From that moment, he developed a strong bond with PICC, ultimately leaving them $2.5 million upon his death. He also left large sums to Make-A-Wish, Boys’ Town, Child Haven, Treehouse, Disabled Veterans of America, and his parents’ church.
“I think he always knew that he was going to leave his money to charity,” said Karan.
Prior to his death, Naiman would imagine the charities’ reactions to getting the donations and how much good would come as a result.
Karan recalled him saying: “My gift is going to be bigger than their annual budget. It’s going to blow them away.” And in the end, it did.
So far, PICC has used the money to pay off the mortgage on their building and to purchase a new vehicle to bring their sick, baby charges to their hospital appointments. Treehouse will be using the money to expand its college and career counseling statewide.
Jessica Ross, chief development officer at Treehouse, told USA TODAY:
“The frugality that he lived through, that he committed to his life, was for this.”
“It really is a gift to all of us to see that pure demonstration of philanthropy and love.”
Watch the heartwarming video below!
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