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Bangalore T. Lakshman, 1934-2016

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One of the joys of being at a new foundation, in a new place, is that I get to hear new stories of generosity.

Stories about people who give are always uplifting, but since I’ve only been here a few months, I’m still experiencing the “oh wow” moments – those moments when a story about a local donor being particularly creative or resourceful makes me break out into a grin.

Last week, with the passing of DCF fundholder Dr. Bangalore T. Lakshman, I learned a whole series of new “oh wow” stories. Laks, as he liked to be called, was born to a modest family in rural India. Despite early challenges, he became a successful engineer and, later, a professor at the University of Delaware.

What’s most remarkable, though, is that Laks gave half of his salary to charity throughout his entire career. Never mind tithing – for more than 40 years, Laks gave away half of everything he earned to make the world a better place.

During his life, funded by his own giving and that of inspired friends and colleagues, Laks bought old buildings in Bangalore and turned them into hospitals and schools. He founded a group of pre-university colleges in southern India, as well as an endowment to fund scholarships for needy students.

Locally, he created an endowed scholarship fund at the University of Delaware, sponsored a group for blind artists, recruited others to help him feed and clothe the needy and donated a building to the Ministry of Caring.

Oh wow.