Alan Naiman was a 63-year-old, Seattle man known for his frugality and undying love for children. Naiman never married and never had children of his own, but kids were very important to him. He even fostered a few as well as he cared for his brother, Daniel, who had developmental disabilities, until his death in 2013. But when Naiman passed away from cancer in January, those who knew him were surprised to learn he left more than $11 million to various charities in the Seattle area.
One person who was not so surprised was his friend of 30+ years, Shashi Karan. Karan and Naiman worked together at a bank in the 80s and maintained a close friendship ever since. Karan told #CNN, “He was just that kind of guy that he couldn’t just spend the money. It was just in his nature to save the money and put it aside.”
He said he spoke with Naiman many times about investments and savings over the years. When it was time for Naiman to make a will, he asked Karan to be his executor, as he was one of the very few people who knew how much money he truly had. Naiman received a sizable inheritance when his father died, which added to his savings.
Although he wore Costco jeans, pocket T-shirts from a grocery store and penny pinched as much as he could, Karan said saving money was like a game to Naiman, “He would brag about how he had a whole day out and didn’t have to spend a single cent.”
After his cancer diagnosis, Naiman was said to have spent a lot of time researching charities, and one group that will benefit from his generosity is the Pediatric Interim Care Center, which cares for medically fragile babies suffering from prenatal drug exposure. The group said he donated enough money to pay off the mortgage on its building. In a letter, Naiman told the center that they had been there for him when he needed to find a place for sick babies that were brought to him.
Other children’s charities Naiman’s donation will go to includes Make-A-Wish and Father Flanagan’s Boys Town and Treehouse, a non-profit that helps kids in foster care. He also gave money to his parents’ Catholic church and Disabled American Veterans.
Karan recalled how excited Naiman was thinking about how much good his money would do when the time came. He remembers his friend stating, “My gift is going to be bigger than their annual budget. It’s going to blow them away.” And it did!