Mildred Robbins Leet, 88, Philanthropist
Each Thursday, we select the most interestingly Jewish obituary from the past week. Today, it is Mildred Robbins Leet (née Mildred Elowsky), whose innovative Trickle Up pioneered as early as 1979 the now-hip practice of small-scale charity (think Muhammad Yunus’s microlending). Instead of focusing on big institution-to-institution gifts, Trickle Up gave microgrants as small as $50 along with financial advice to potential entrepreneurs in Third World countries like Nicaragua and India. More than 200,000 businesses have been started with Trickle Up’s aid; 80 percent of the recipients have been women.
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