Gerald and Margeurite Lenfest have made an immense amount of money in cable television, but not enough to even make it to the Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans, even. However, they are #45 on the list of greatest philanthropic gifts, which to me is the greater measure. They were in the news today for donating 545 acres of pristine land in the western exurbs through the Natural Land Trust. Chester County will match that, to create over 1000 acres of Open Space accessible to the public. Wow!Gerry Lenfest is quite plainspoken about the whole gift, as you can read below.
Lenfest and his wife, Marguerite, had originally planned to build a house on the site. The foundation had been dug when, Lenfest said, he had second thoughts. With their children grown, 16,000 square feet seemed like a lot of house, he said. Instead, they would give the land away.This is a couple that understands that past the point of "enough" is "lots" and past that point, nothing more is really gained materially. He says it even better himself, though:
And his reason for the gift? "I don't need the money," he said. "And I think it's really a great opportunity to preserve [the land] in perpetuity for generations and generations. Many, many times I just walked on the property - I just loved it."