Social Worker Leaves $11 Million to Children's Charities

Social Worker Leaves $11 Million to Children's Charities

A social worker who was known for his thriftiness left most of an estate totaling $11 million to children's charities in Washington State, the Associated Press reports. 

Alan Naiman, who died of cancer in January 2018 at the age of 63, was unmarried and childless and had worked for the past two decades at the Department of Social and Health Services, handling after-hours calls and earning less than $70,000 a year. A former banker, he was known to patch his shoes with duct tape, pick up discounted products at the grocery store deli, and treat his friends to lunch at fast-food restaurants. According to his friends, Naiman was intensely private, worked as many as three jobs at a time, saved ferociously, and invested his money wisely so that he could help vulnerable kids. His friends believe a lifelong devotion to his older brother, who had a developmental disability and died in 2013, influenced the way he chose to live his life. In addition to the money he saved and invested, Naiman inherited several million dollars from his parents, Shashi Karan, a friend, told the AP.

Naiman left $2.5 million to the Pediatric Interim Care Center, a private organization that cares for babies born to mothers with substance use disorders and helps wean the children of their dependence. The group has used some of what is the largest donation it has ever received to pay off a mortgage and buy a new vehicle to transport the two hundred babies it accepts from hospitals each year. 

"I wish very much that I could have met him," said PICC founder Barbara Drennen, who had picked up a newborn Naiman had called the center about more than a decade ago. "I would have loved to have had him see the babies he's protecting."

Naiman also bequeathed $900,000 to the Treehouse foster care organization, whose warehouse Naiman brought some of his charges to so they could pick out toys and basic necessities for themselves. Treehouse is using Naiman's gift to expand its college and career counseling statewide.

"The frugality that he lived…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."

Sally Ho. "Social Worker Left Surprise $11M to Children's Charities." Associated Press 12/27/2018.