November 26, 2013, SEATTLE - Seattle Children’s, the University of Washington (UW) School of Law and The Salvation Army today announced they are the grateful beneficiaries of a $187.6 million charitable trust from the estate of Jack Rupert MacDonald. This gift is expected to impact hundreds of thousands of lives for generations to come. It marks the largest philanthropic gift in Washington state this year and the sixth largest in the country in 2013
Each year, in perpetuity, the three organizations will receive income earned by the trust. Forty percent of the yearly income will support pediatric research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, 30 percent will fund the Jack MacDonald Endowed Chair, student scholarships and general educational needs at the UW School of Law, and the remaining 30 percent will support programs of The Salvation Army Northwest Division.
Jack MacDonald’s legacy
Jack MacDonald, who passed away in September 2013 at the age of 98, was a private and frugal man who carefully invested his inheritance for the benefit of charitable organizations. He was known for his compassion, modesty and gentle presence. MacDonald supported hundreds of causes with small donations, but was proudest of the trust he was stewarding for the benefit of Children’s, UW School of Law and The Salvation Army – organizations he chose to support because of what they meant to him and his family.
Always devoted to the memory of his parents, he made the bequest to Children’s in honor of his mother Katherine MacDonald, a long time member of Children’s Connie Beal Howe Guild, and to The Salvation Army Northwest Division in honor of his father Frederick MacDonald who wished to help men and women in need. His bequest to the UW School of Law recognizes his appreciation of his own education that enabled him to lead a comfortable life and contribute to his family trust.
A 1940 graduate of the UW School of Law, he worked for three decades as an attorney for the Veterans Administration in Seattle. He was predeceased by his wife Mary Katherine Moore and resided in Seattle’s Horizon House during his final years.
“Our family has lived with the ‘secret’ of Jack’s generous fortune for more than 40 years, all while being amazed at his frugal lifestyle and modest demeanor. He was quirky and eccentric in many ways, and always stayed true to himself by acting on his convictions to do the most good with his wealth,” said Regen Dennis, MacDonald’s stepdaughter. “Life will not be the same without him and our family recognizes how much his generous spirit will benefit the Northwest community. I am so proud of Jack – he was so dedicated to both my mother and to his ever-important philanthropy.”
Funding pediatric research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute
MacDonald’s legacy will be used to fund pediatric research taking place at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, one of the top five pediatric research centers in the nation. It will support Children’s quest to find better treatments and cures for childhood disease, and to address health issues affecting children around the world. This is the largest charitable gift to Children’s and also the largest known gift to a U.S. children’s hospital for pediatric research.
“We are thrilled and honored by Jack’s unprecedented gift to Children’s,” said Thomas Hansen, MD, CEO at Seattle Children’s. “At a time when government funding for pediatric research is declining, it will help our researchers and clinicians make advances and breakthroughs in pediatric medicine for future generations.”
Children’s will receive income from what is currently $75.04 million, or 40 percent of the trust, which in the first year will equate to approximately $3.75 million. A portion of yearly income will be used to provide matches for new research-centric donations, further expanding MacDonald’s ability to accelerate pediatric research. MacDonald’s pledge to Children’s was first announced in 2011 as being anonymous. The portion for Children’s was then valued at $50 million and has since grown to $75.04 million. During his lifetime, MacDonald also gifted $536,000 to Children’s supporting research, uncompensated care and greatest needs.
Expanding and improving legal education
MacDonald’s gift to the University of Washington School of Law is the largest in the school’s 114- year history and the largest estate gift to the University of Washington as a whole. Consistent with MacDonald’s wishes, the contribution will be used to fund a number of programs at the heart of the school’s mission to educate leaders for the global common good and to solidify its reputation as one of the nation’s best public law schools.
In receiving 30 percent of the trust, the law school’s gift is valued at just over $56 million. The annual income from MacDonald’s trust will support student scholarships, faculty excellence, and investment in innovative programs that will enhance students’ education and professional opportunities. The trust also provides support for the immediate establishment of the Jack MacDonald Endowed Chair in Law, which will add to the ranks of the school’s distinguished faculty.
“We are humbled by Jack’s generosity and his confidence in UW Law to carry out his vision for a more just and equitable society,” said UW law school Dean Kellye Testy. “Jack spent his professional life serving the public through his law practice. He believed in the power of the law to make positive change and in the power of lawyers to help solve the world’s complex problems. We are inspired by his legacy, and his investment will reach every corner of the law school and every student who studies here for generations.”
Caring for families in need throughout the Northwest
The Salvation Army will receive a portion of the annual interest of Mr. MacDonald’s gift, approximately $2.8 million in the first year. Approximately a 3% addition to its annual operating budget, this gift will help The Salvation Army continue to be a force for change and improvement in communities. Last year, The Salvation Army helped more than 600,000 people in the Northwest.
Mr. MacDonald’s gift is designated for the Northwest Division of The Salvation Army. The international organization has been operating in Washington, Northern Idaho, and Western Montana for more than 125 years. In every ZIP code of this region, The Salvation Army is providing food, shelter and other life-changing services to the neediest members of society. By providing a hand up – not a hand out – the organization empowers others to improve their situations and their lives.
“We are surprised and humbled by this gift from Mr. MacDonald. We didn’t know him, but he definitely knew us,” said Major Douglas Tollerud, Divisional Commander for The Salvation Army. “Mr. MacDonald knew that The Salvation Army will use his gift to continue help those in need – the hungry, the homeless, and the hopeless. He knew that we help people everywhere, without question, and without discrimination.”
Major Tollerud added, “And, based on what I’ve learned about Jack MacDonald, I suspect he appreciated the fiscal efficiency that The Salvation Army has become known for.”
About Seattle Children’s Research Institute
Located in downtown Seattle’s biotech corridor, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is pushing the boundaries of medical research to find cures for pediatric diseases and improve outcomes for children all over the world. Internationally recognized investigators and staff at the research institute are advancing new discoveries in cancer, genetics, immunology, pathology, infectious disease, injury prevention and bioethics, among others. As part of Seattle Children’s Hospital, the research institute brings together leading minds in pediatric research to provide patients with the best care possible. Seattle Children’s serves as the primary teaching, clinical and research site for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, which consistently ranks as one of the best pediatric departments in the country. For more information, visit
About University of Washington School of Law
Founded in 1899, the University of Washington School of Law is the highest ranked law school in the Pacific Northwest and one of the nation’s top-ranked public law schools. UW Law’s graduates are leaders in all areas of law, business and public policy throughout the world. Guided by what is relevant in the 21st century, UW Law provides its students with knowledge, skills and values that give them a competitive edge and an abiding commitment to their ethical and public service responsibilities. The school offers a wide range of degree programs, including the traditional juris doctor (J.D.) degree; graduate (LL.M. and Ph.D.) programs in Taxation, Global Business, Sustainable International Development, Health and Global Health, Intellectual Property, and Asian and Comparative Law; and specialized and interdisciplinary programs in many key areas of law and policy. For more information, visit
About The Salvation Army Northwest Division (Washington, Northern Idaho, Western Montana)
The Salvation Army was founded in 1865 when William Booth decided to take his ministry into the streets of London where it would reach the poor, the homeless, the hungry and the destitute. It is now part of the universal Christian Church, and an international organization meeting human needs in 124 countries around the globe. The Salvation Army continues its tradition in the Northwest Division by serving more than 600,000 people annually, always meeting human needs without discrimination. Among the services offered in this Division are rent/utility/gas assistance, food pantry, clothing, disaster relief services, day care centers, summer camps, holiday assistance, services for the aging, medical facilities, shelters for battered women and children, family and career counseling, vocational training, correction services, and substance abuse rehabilitation.
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