MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. - When Maryann Vinall passed away in Bradenton in February of this year, she left behind $2.7 million.
She already knew where she wanted that money to go.
"It was pretty basic. She said 'I love animals!' They were her friends," says Marilyn Howard, the executive director with the Manatee County Foundation.
The money would go to the foundation, specifically left behind for human therapy programs that use animals as part of their therapies.
Maryann and her husband Bill had made the money in their lifetimes, but left it behind for that one specific cause.
The Manatee County Foundation is the group that's receiving the funds, to manage and invest, and then divest to different groups.
Those associations include the Manatee County Humane Society, Wildlife Inc. in Bradenton Beach, with priority given to groups located in Manatee.
Amy Van Dell with the Humane Society in Bradenton says money they could potentially receive would be a huge help.
"Our shelter needs all the funding that it can. We operate fundraisers all the time," she said.
The group offers companionship programs, adoptions, they spay and neuter the animals, along with many other operations that cost money.
Groups will have to wait at least a year to receive the money, since the principal amount would be allowed at least 12-months to mature before they can start giving gifts.
Marilyn Howard says to have the money and being able to give it back to the community makes her proud, and she knows Maryann VInall would be as well.
"I think that she will be pleased. This is her legacy, and this is how she wanted to be remembered," she said.
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