When Ric Weiland joined forces with his high school friends Bill Gates and Paul Allen, he had no idea that Microsoft would grow to be a giant company or that he would become a philanthropist who would one day make a historic donation to Lambda Legal and other LGBT and HIV civil rights organizations.
Weiland was a visionary in life and in death. He passed away at the age of 53 and left an extraordinary gift: He created a $46 million fund for 10 LGBT and HIV organizations. The funds will be distributed over eight years. Lambda Legal will receive approximately $1.4 million each year for a total of more than $11 million. 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,” says Lambda Legal Executive Director Kevin Cathcart.
Lambda Legal will use the approximately $1.4 million it will receive each year over the next eight 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. In 2008/2009, it will equal approximately one-tenth of Lambda Legal’s overall budget.
“Ric’s death was a terrible loss,” Cathcart says. “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.”