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Ann Castle, a Leader in Women's Philanthropy, Will Be Missed

Women's Philanthropy Institute News, May 2000

by Andrea Kaminski


Women's philanthropy lost a leading voice in February. Within less than a week, Ann Castle fell ill, was diagnosed with leukemia, and died from complications of the disease. As former director of development research at Harvard University and Hamilton College, Ann's intelligence and research skills were matched only by her dedication to the cause of advancing philanthropy especially by women.

A decade ago, Ann began to compile a bibliography of articles, books, dissertations and other resources dealing with the topic of women and philanthropy. She made her impressive Women and Philanthropy Bibliography available at no cost to anyone who asked. In 1998, she posted her Women and Philanthropy Resource Page on the Internet ( through Hamilton College. This resource is an invaluable collection of literature titles, Internet resources, organizations, and vignettes of women's giving.

And this was not part of her job; it was her passion. She did it as an act of love.

"Ann Castle contributed so very much to the dignity and worth of ethical prospect research, and her focus on women was a special added gift. I am truly saddened for the loss to our community, yet lightened by memories of knowing her, talking with her, and generally dreaming about the possible. Through her gifts, she was a gift," said Patricia Lewis, President of the Women's Philanthropy Institute Board of Directors.

In 1998 Ann left her work in development research to devote her energies to writing, speaking, and consulting for educational and other nonprofit organizations internationally. Among her many clients were the United Nations, the White House, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


Ann Castle was "the cheerful dynamo behind The Slate 60," according to Jack Shafer her publisher at the on-line Slate magazine. "There would be no Slate 60 without Ann. She was already a recognized authority on philanthropy - especially women and philanthropy - in 1996, when Ted Turner floated the idea of ranking philanthropists, Forbes 400-style," Shafer said in his editorial announcing the 1999 list. Turner wanted to motivate the super-rich by creating a list to "honor the generous and shame the stingy."

"Our search for such a list-builder quickly brought us to Ann ... At our request, she dipped into her database and produced the first Slate 60 which ran in December 1996. Ever since, we've run her quarterly and annual reports of America's biggest givers," Shafer explained. Ann also contributed her expertise in philanthropy to Texas Monthly, which has run a similar list, and to the White House as it planned its first-ever conference on philanthropy.

Ann Castle is survived by her husband, Richard Seager; her parents; and a sister. The family has asked that memorials be sent to: Friends of the Smith College Libraries, Neilson Library, Northhampton, MA 01063

© 2000, Women's Philanthropy Institute

This editorial was published in the May, 2000 issue of
"Women's Philanthropy Institute News"
and is reprinted here, by permission. >>Visit their Web site



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