Rhode Island Foundation Receives $28 Million Bequest

The Rhode Island Foundation has received $28 million in unrestricted funds from the estate of a man who died in 1965, the Providence Journal reports.

In his will, Frederick B. Wilcox, a successful investment banker who had risen from humble beginnings, left about $1 million in a trust to be overseen by his daughter, Nancy W. Mattis, and directed that at her death 60 percent of the trust be given to the foundation. When she died in October at age 95, the trust had grown to approximately $48 million, with the foundation receiving its appointed allotment.

Shortly before Nancy Mattis's death, at the request of her son, Frederick "Ted" Mattis, Neil Steinberg, president and CEO of the foundation, sent her a letter of appreciation, acknowledging her stewardship of the trust, which over fifty-one years had yielded a 4,800 percent return. Ted Mattis read Steinberg's note in which he thanked her for her "wonderful stewardship."

Mattis's obituary described a life lived entirely in the state, where her ancestor Gabriel Benton first settled in 1697. "I thought it was important that my mother be acknowledged for what she did," Mattis told the Journal. "She was a very quiet woman, very unassuming, lived that way, wanted to be that way — wanted to be known that way. Her father was a remarkable story and my mother was a great steward."

G. Wayne Miller. "$28M Windfall: R.I. Foundation Gets Massive Bequest." Providence Journal 02/20/2017.