Surprise Gift to Library Has Big Impact on California Community

City council and library commission working together to determine how to use generous gift.

He never told the librarians how much the Porterville Public Library meant to him while he was alive, but Peter Brown sent a very clear message by naming the library as the primary beneficiary of his living trust of $158,351.92. Brown, a local resident who passed away several years ago, rendered City Librarian Vikki Cervantes speechless.

The Porterville (CA) Recorder reported in its article, “Library receives nearly $160K in deceased resident’s living trust,” that Cervantes’ reaction was simply “Wow!’”

The gift is, to her knowledge, the largest the library has ever received since it started in the early 1900s. Cervantes said Brown gifted the library in memory of his parents. Brown died from long-term heart problems in 2015 at the age of 76. He was a tax preparer at a local H&R Block that he also owned. Brown helped many people in town with tax returns, said a senior partner at the firm handling the trust.

Brown didn’t have any children and never married. He was modest and reserved in nature, but was also very generous and caring. Cervantes said she believes he loved the community.  He wanted to be a part of its continued growth so that it could have a positive, sustainable future through his gift.

The librarian thought it was obvious, because the gift is so substantial, that the library meant a lot to him and was a very important piece of his life. Cervantes said. “I think we have a great community resource and we will definitely put Mr. Brown’s money to good use.”

Cervantes said putting it to good use is something the city’s Library and Literacy Commission will discuss. However, she noted the city council has the final say. The commission is thinking about how to use the money.

“I would like to think that Mr. Brown wanted the funds to go to the community in some way since it is a gift to the community,” the librarian said.

Cervantes added that Brown was “a forward thinker on how he wanted to leave his estate planning and leave his legacy in the community of Porterville…”

By selecting a well-established part of the community, Brown’s legacy will benefit the library and the entire community for many years to come.

Reference: The Porterville (CA) Recorder (January 14, 2017) “Library receives nearly $160K in deceased resident’s living trust.”