Brooklyn Secretary Left Henry Street Settlement More Than $6 Million For Scholarships

Sylvia Bloom, photo via the New York Times.

Sylvia Bloom, photo via the New York Times.

If you’re looking to start your week on a high note, take a few minutes this morning to read about Sylvia Bloom in the New York Times.

The legal secretary from Brooklyn, who died a couple of years ago at the age of 97, has left the Henry Street Settlement $6.24 million for youth scholarships.

It really is a remarkable story. Not even Bloom’s closest friends and relatives realized she had amassed a fortune by investing portions of her secretarial salary so wisely. The executor of Bloom’s estate is Jane Lockshin, Bloom’s niece and the longtime board secretary at Henry Street, the 125-year-old Lower East Side non-profit. Here’s more from the Times:

“I realized she had millions and she had never mentioned a word,” recalled Ms. Lockshin. “I don’t think she thought it was anybody’s business but her own.” Ms. Bloom’s will allowed for some money to be left to relatives and friends, but directed that the bulk of the fortune go toward scholarships of Ms. Lockshin’s choice for needy students. Ms. Lockshin… called (Henry Street’s)  executive director, David Garza, and asked him if he was sitting down. “We were all agape, just blown away,” recalled Mr. Garza… Mr. Garza called the gift “the epitome of selflessness,” and a fitting gesture by a woman to the settlement, which was founded in 1893 by the public health pioneer Lillian Wald.

The contribution is the largest single gift by an individual in the settlement house’s history. It will go to support the Expanded Horizons College Success Program, which helps disadvantaged high school students get into college and make sure they are prepared to succeed. You can read more about the program here.

Another $2 million from the state will go to Hunter College and to another scholarship fund to be announced.

UPDATE 5/8 Here’s more from Henry Street Settlement. The $6.24 million donation will be used to create The Bloom-Margolies Scholarship Fund. It was established in memory of Sylvia Bloom-Margolies, her husband Raymond Margolies and her sister Ruth Bloom.

“Due to the magnitude of the gift, we are creating an endowment,” explained Henry Street’s David Garza. “The funds generated will provide support annually – and in perpetuity. Ultimately, thousands of low-income young adults will receive the vital support they need to succeed in college – and in their lives – because of this generously transformative gift.”

The endowment will support college scholarships and support other aspects of The Expanded Horizons program. The program offers college counseling, SAT prep, tutoring, college visits and continuous support to participants throughout their college careers.