ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Nearly one year after the passing of David Baldwin at age 96, half a dozen Tampa Bay charities received $63 million from his estate.
Lacey Miller said she first met Baldwin 10 years ago when he gave a gift of $5,000 to the Academy Prep Center of St. Petersburg.
"David Baldwin drove onto our campus in an old beat-up Lincoln," said Miller.
Miller said Baldwin was incredibly modest, humble, and wanted to give to nonprofit causes that his late wife Virginia believed in, causes like Academy Prep.
"We spent some time with our eighth-graders in a social studies class. He was able to share some details about his own life and his service in World War II, and the kids were as enamored with him as he was with the kids," said Miller.
Baldwin passed away last March at the age of 96, and it turns out the WWII vet had a secret.
"I knew David had left us in his estate planning, I imagined maybe $10,000, maybe even more," said Miller.
But it wasn’t $10,000. Baldwin left Academy Prep close to $9.5 million.
"I had no idea it would be a gift of that size. It blew me away. I lost it," said Miller.
And, they weren’t the only ones. When Baldwin's estate was recently settled, $63 million was distributed to half a dozen Tampa Bay charities and organizations.
"He knew what none of us knew. That he was planning to do something transformative for the charities that he really believed in," said Miller.
Some of the other charities included the St. Pete Free Clinic, Metropolitan Ministries, and CASA. Each nonprofit received around $9 million. In many cases, Baldwin's gift was the largest single donation in the organization’s history.
Miller says she didn't know much about Baldwin's history other than he was a veteran who loved his wife. An obituary article on the Case Western Reserve University website says Baldwin was an alumnus who had a very successful career in electronics and software.