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96 Year-Old Amasses Fortune

posted May 9, 2018, 7:07 AM by PHS Warrior Beat

By: Jordan Croswell

    By the standards of New York City philanthropy, a recent $6.24 million donation to the Henry Street Settlement was a whopper. It’s the largest single gift from an individual to the group in its 125- year history.

    The money was not donated by some billionaire. In face the money was donated by a “frugal legal secretary” from Brooklyn. She worked for the same law firm for 67 years and later retired at the age of 96 and died a little afterwards in 2016.

    Her name was Sylvia Bloom. None of her friends or family knew she amassed such a fortune over the decades. She did this by secretly observing the investments made by the lawyers she worked for.

    “She was a secretary in an era when they ran their boss’s lives, including their personal investments,” recalled her niece Jane Lockshin. “So when the boss would buy a stock, she would make the purchase for him, and then buy the same stock for herself, but in a smaller amount because she was on a secretary’s salary.”

    Bloom never talked about her finances with anyone close to her. Her friends and family are still surprised by how she “carefully cultivated” more than $9 million among three brokerage houses and 11 banks.

    “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.”

    After she died her money was shared with some of her friends and family. But directed that the fortune goes to scholarships of Ms. Lockshin’s choice for needy students.

    “We were all agape, just blown away,” recalled Mr. Garza, who said the money would endow the settlements Expanded Horizons College Success Program. The program helps disadvantaged students prepare for and complete college.

    “She had that dual perspective,” Mr. Garza said, “and it’s probably why it resonated so deeply in her heart and her gut.”


Uploaded By: 5/8/18

Edited By: MS