Literacy group receives $200,000 gift from former volunteer

Apr 8, 2015

Literacy New York Buffalo-Niagara officials admit they're still feeing a bit emotional after receiving a surprise gift from a local woman who passed away in February.

The estate of the late Marion Swanson on Wednesday presented a check for $200,000 to Literacy New York Buffalo-Niagara officials inside the central branch of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library. The money represents nearly half of the organization's annual budget.

Executive Director of Literacy New York Buffalo-Niagara Tara Vogel (fourth from left) was joined by Marion Swanson’s relatives and others in receiving the $200,000 bequest.
Credit Michael Mroziak/WBFO News

Executive Director Tara Vogel says the group will use the money to further its mission to teach people how to read.

"Over the next ten years, we will probably be able to serve an additional 100 students over that time, so that's 1,000 additional students," Vogel said. "Truly, the sky is the limit with this."

Vogel says the group has been looking to move its space, possibly within the library. She says some of the funding could be used for a capital project in support of that move.

Family members say the gift was a secret arrangement between Marion Swanson, a former literacy volunteer, and her financial planner, Michael Minter. On Tuesday, the estate presented a similar gift to the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Western New York.