Jackie Bancroft Spencer Morgan (“Jackie”) was worth well over a hundred million dollars. Her wealth was inherited as an heir of the “Wall Street Journal”, Dow Jones publishing fortune. She often stated that she had never worked a day in her life, and she was proud of it.
Jackie approached matters of life in an unusual and unorthodox manner. People of equal wealth often set up eleemosynary trusts or contribute to non-profits in an organized, tax-deducting method. Jackie did not. If she saw someone or some organization she felt like helping, she did so on the spot, instantaneously. She learned of a boy who needed a liver transplant but had no money. She paid for it. Once she was taking a tour through a boys orphanage and the van broke down. She bought them a new one. There were many such instances but always one-on-one. If she saw a need and it interested her, she would immediately take care of it, tax write-off be damned.
Jackie gave large amounts of money to the Republican Party and Republican Party candidates. They all had her on their rolodex. She actually knew very little about politics, or cared, but since her wealth came from the “Wall Street Journal”, it was tradition that she make Republican donations. At campaign time, governors, senators, legislators, and even presidents lined up in front of her door. It was often an irritation to her, but in a way, she looked at the donations as charitable contributions.
Later in life, as she approached designing her “little gem”, her “little pearl”, and then building it, The Spencer Theater of Performing Arts which she paid $23,000,000 cash for, she created a non-profit foundation for its support. She funded the foundation with more millions, but this time it was tax deductible. It’s not that Jackie didn’t have good tax advice in her early years. She had the best, but spur of the moment philanthropy was her style.
I wrote about Jackie and her life and attitudes in my book: “Observer: The Ronnie Lee and Jackie Bancroft Spencer Morgan Story, a tale of people, greed, envy, manipulation — even crime”
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