Press Release: Merlin J. Loew Family Trust

A Celebration of Generosity

Press Release: Merlin J. Loew Family Trust

The gift that Merlin J. Loew gave to Grant County is still giving, 38 years after his death, through the Merlin J. Loew Family Trust. This Trust will make final payouts totaling over $3 Million to 19 local nonprofit organizations listed as beneficiaries. On February 21, the Community Foundation of Grant County will host a celebration to commemorate Mr. Loew’s generosity and the amazing legacy he has left with the named nonprofits, their board members, and a few individuals that helped to steward the Trust over the years.

President/CEO Dawn Brown stated, “Although it’s bittersweet when our donors pass away, to know we helped them leave a legacy of generosity is amazing. Mr. Loew is a prime example of the enormous impact one can have on a community when a planned gift is designated to your favorite charities through a will or estate plan.”

Board of Directors Chairwoman, Georgette Miller stated, “The impact that Mr. Loew had, and will continue to have, on the Grant County community is truly a legacy. Mr. Loew was obviously a very generous man, and by setting up his trust and naming these 19 organizations, he continues to give back, even 38 years after his death. When these very broad-reaching non-profit organizations put these funds to work, just imagine the combined impact they are going to have! The community in general will benefit immensely from his generosity and his foresight to establish this trust.  All I can say is ‘Thank you, Mr. Loew, for your generosity! The world could certainly use more people like you!’”

Trustee of the Family Trust, Preston O. von Arx stated, “My siblings and I remember Mr. Loew since childhood, from formal dinners with him at the Spencer Hotel, to fishing and cooking out with him on his beautiful property.  I always thought he was a very successful, somewhat eccentric, kind businessman as well as an important client of my father’s.  It wasn’t until I returned to Marion in the late 1980’s to practice law with my father that I truly understood the depth of Mr. Loew’s commitment to his family and charitable giving.  He had such a clear vision for planned giving to better his community and local charities for many years to come.  It has been an honor and pleasure to have known Mr. Loew personally and professionally and to have been appointed by the court as successor Trustee for both Trusts upon my father’s death.  His vision and generosity has now come full circle.  I am humbled to return to Marion to be a part of this bittersweet celebration.”

When he was alive, Marion businessman Merlin J. Loew had a reputation as a very private man who did things for the public good. That reputation continued through a charitable trust Loew set up before he passed, Sept. 24, 1981, at the age of 85. He owned property in downtown Marion and farmland east of Marion along Ind. 18. Loew came to Marion in 1944 from Chicago on a temporary assignment as an efficiency expert with the Osborn Paper Company.

Since he was merely a visitor, he took a room at the Spencer-Hotel. He met the hotel’s proprietor, Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Moore Spencer. Known as “Mayme,” Mrs. Spencer was the widow of Robert J. Spencer, a Marion man who had inherited the towns’ grand hotel and owned several large pieces of real estate.  Before the year was out, the two were married.

 “Merlin Loew always wanted people to think he was a curmudgeon, but he was really a sweetheart,” a friend of Loew’s said at his funeral.

He had the visage of an elderly character in a classic 1940 Hollywood movie. Deep lines poured from the corners of his mouth and curved around his jawline. A full sweeping white mustache draped over his lips and gave prominence to high cheekbones. Clark Gable ears were perched on the sides of his head and accentuated the thinness of his face.

But he was no Hollywood actor, he was an entrepreneur, a businessman, and some financial observers at the time said he left one of the largest estates in Grant County history.

 His giving began even before his death. He gave land for parking lots to Marion General Hospital and the First United Methodist Church. He donated the World Gospel Mission’s original building at Fifth and Boots street and made the initial down payment to allow then Marion College to buy its athletic field.

The Merlin J. Loew Family Trust will award over $3 Million, in varied amounts, to the following 19 organizations:

Organization Purpose Amount
Grant County Economic Growth Council An Unrestricted Gift

 

$63,220.41
Grant County Rescue Mission An Unrestricted Gift

 

$63,220.41
Marion Philharmonic Orchestra Endowment Fund Principal to be retained by the Community Foundation as permanent endowment with annual income to be used by organization for payments of principal musician salaries.

 

$63,220.41
Services for the Visually and Hearing-Impaired Fund Principal to be used by organization in accordance with instructions of its Board of Directors.

 

$63,220.41
Marion Community Schools For Eye Glasses, Emergency Medical & Dental Care, Clothing and Other Similar Needs

 

$94,830.62
Marion/Grant County Senior Center Principal to be used for improvements or remodeling of facilities.

 

$94,830.62
Marion Civic Theatre Principal to be used for improvements or remodeling facility.

 

$94,830.62
Habitat for Humanity Fund Principal to be used to assist in the construction of homes in Grant County.

 

$94,830.62
Grant County Family YMCA An Unrestricted Gift

 

$126,440.82
Westminster Preschool An Unrestricted Gift

 

$126,440.82
Friends of the Gardens of Matter Park An Unrestricted Gift

 

$126,440.82
Family Service Society An Unrestricted Gift

 

$126,440.82
Wilson-Vaughn Hostess House Fund Principal to be used for repairs or improvements to facility or equipment.

 

$126,440.82
World Gospel Mission An Unrestricted Gift

 

$158,051.03
Merlin J. Loew Field of Interest Fund To support projects or programs for African Americans, other minorities, and/or disadvantaged individuals.

 

$158,051.03
First United Methodist Church An Unrestricted Gift

 

$221,271.44
St. Paul Parish Church School For Repairs or Improvements to School Facility

 

$252,881.65
United Way of Grant County Endowment Fund Principal to be retained by the Community Foundation as permanent endowment with income each calendar year to be distributed to the United Way of Grant County.

 

$474,153.09
Community Foundation of Grant County To be held by the Community Foundation as an unrestricted endowment with income to be distributed each calendar year. $632,204.12

 

The Community Foundation of Grant County, Indiana, Inc. is an advocate for local philanthropy and is dedicated to connecting people, resources, and causes to promote sustainable impact towards the betterment of Grant County.  Since 1984, the Foundation has been working with donors to establish charitable funds and has supported non-profit organizations through a variety of grantmaking efforts.

 

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