Filed at 11:52 a.m. ET
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Ruth Lilly, a prolific philanthropist who was the last surviving great-grandchild of pharmaceutical magnate Eli Lilly, has died at age 94.
A family spokesman said Lilly died Wednesday in Indianapolis.
Over the course of her life, the Indianapolis native gave away much of her inheritance from the Eli Lilly & Co. fortune. Court documents showed in 2002 that Lilly had bequeathed nearly $500 million to charitable and arts-related groups.
That included an estimated $100 million to the influential literary magazine ''Poetry,'' which had rejected Lilly's submissions for years. Lilly began writing poetry in the mid-1930's.
The magazine has published the works of poets William Butler Yeats and Dylan Thomas. Lilly's attorney said in 2002 she didn't take rejections from the publication personally.
Lilly also established two fellowships for graduate students in poetry and an endowed chair of poetry at Indiana University.
The Indianapolis Museum of Art is located on the site of Lilly's parents' estate, which she and her brother donated in 1966, along with a trust income to maintain it.
Lilly's wealth was valued at more than $1 billion in 2002. The family statement said she gave away ''the vast bulk of her inheritance, largely to Indiana-based institutions.''
A family statement released Thursday said that during her later years, Lilly's philanthropy widened her circle of contacts and interests, and her life ''became much more interesting and rewarding.''
Lilly was married for more than 40 years but her marriage ended in divorce, with no children.
Her financial dealings have been handled by a court-appointed guardian since 1981, when she was declared incompetent.
Lilly battled depression for most of her life but was helped greatly by Eli Lilly & Co.'s blockbuster antidepressant Prozac, which came on the market in 1988, The Indianapolis Star reported.After posting this obituary, I read something else about this woman's largesse that I wanted to share in this posting.
Ruth Lilly, an heiress to the Lilly pharmaceutical fortune, died Wednesday at age 94, the Associated Press reports.
She ranked No. 2 on The Chronicle’s list of the biggest donors of the year when she announced plans in 2002 to give $520-million to charitable causes.
The gift attracted extra attention because $100-million of it went to Poetry magazine, which had less than $1-million in its endowment. In 2003 The Chronicle wrote about the challenges the gift posed to the newly rich organization, which had vaulted to No. 92 on the newspaper’s Philanthropy 400 list of the charities that raise the most from private sources.
And today the Chicago Tribune reported that the magazine has been roiled by controversy over how to spend Ms. Lilly’s money, which has grown to be worth $200-million since her original pledge.
The newspaper said that more half of the 12 trustees of a foundation that oversees the gift have resigned or said they were forced out because they criticized the organization’s leadership. Causing frustration among the trustees: a $25-million building the foundation created to serve as a poetry center — but that one trustee called a foundation’s “monument” to itself.
The newspaper said the state’s attorney general is reviewing questions about the organization’s fiscal practices, conflicts of interest, nepotism, and potential violations of nonprofit regulations.
Donald Marshall, chairman of the Poetry Foundation, told the newspaper that none of the allegations had any grounds and he was “mystified” why the former trustees had taken their concerns to state officials.
Officials in the attorney general’s office said they had not found any violations and that Ms. Lilly had left a broad mandate about how her pledge should be spent.