Article via Community College Daily
By Tabitha Whissemore
Tens of thousands of community college students in Washington state will benefit from the generosity of Eva Gordon, a Seattle resident who passed away in 2018 at the age of 105. In mid-December, her estate announced that she had bequeathed $10 million to 17 Washington community colleges.
Each of the colleges will receive approximately $550,000. The gift is one of the largest to community and technical colleges in the state.
Gordon worked hard, was frugal and quietly amassed a fortune, but had no formal education herself – something she regretted.
“If I had a scholarship when I got out of high school, I could have done so much more,” Gordon said in a 2013 profile by South Seattle College.
Gordon grew up on an orchard in Eugene, Oregon, and graduated at the top of her high school class. She then went to work as a legal secretary and later for a Seattle investment firm. She married Ed Gordon in 1964 and together they shared a common dedication to higher education.
Little by little, she invested money from meager paychecks to build a fortune and give back to others.
“A lot of people didn’t know the wealth she had. If there was a coupon for two-for-one at Applebee’s, she was all about that,” said John Jacobs, her godson and estate representative. “She liked seeing students working, earning and doing things. Her goal was to provide an opportunity for those folks who could ill-afford it, whether vocational training or an academic skill.”
One of the beneficiaries of Gordon’s gift is South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC). The $550,000 gift is the largest cash donation the college has ever received.
“Ms. Gordon’s gift will create an immediate impact on students in Thurston County,” said SPSCC President Timothy Stokes. “Not only will it allow us to support more students, the gift will allow us to expand the work we’re already doing to help students with ongoing or unexpected expenses like housing, food, childcare, utilities, and more. We are deeply grateful for this planned gift, which will ultimately allow more students to reach their goals.”