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$15M to church – Cathedral’s biggest gift ever

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The 92-year old Washington National Cathedral has received a bequest of $15 million – the largest gift in the church’s history, the Washington Post reports.

The gift from Katherine Thomas, who died in 1994 at the age of 96, is the largest of eight bequests she made to the Washington area.  Other recipients include St. Albans School for Boys in Northwest Washington, the alma mater of Thomas’s two sons.

The cathedral – the sixth largest Episcopal church in the world – is undecided about how to use the gift, cathedral spokesman Gregory Rixon said.  The gift came without conditions, he told the Post.

With annual operating expenses of $12.2 million as of December and an endowment worth nearly $60 million, the church receives about a million visitors a year.  

The bequest comes from the $48 million her estate received after developers purchased Windy Knoll, the 250-acre dairy farm where Thomas and her lawyer husband lived since they purchased it in the 1930’s.

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