Ex-MicroSoft employee leaves largest bequest ever to AIDS, Gay Causes

weiland.jpgRic Weiland, one of the earliest MicroSoft employees and a high school classmate of Bill Gates and Paul Allen, has bequeathed $65 million to HIV AIDS and Gay related organizations.

He was hired in 1975, the same year Bill Gates founded Microsoft in Albuquerque, N.M.  As one of just five Microsoft employees, Weiland was a lead programmer and developer for the company’s BASIC and COBOL systems, two of the first personal computing interfaces.  He later was the project manager for MicroSoft Works.

He left the company in 1988 for philanthropic causes, many gay related.  He died in 2006 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Weiland gave tens of millions of dollars to groups prior to his death in 2006.  In the latest bequest, the Pride Foundation said Weiland’s estate had established a fund at the foundation that would give $46 million over the next eight years to 10 national gay rights and HIV/AIDS groups, including Lambda Legal; the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays; the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation; and amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research.  His estate also bequeathed $19 million directly to the Pride Foundation for scholarships and grants supporting the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in the Pacific Northwest.

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