Gillespie Estate Creates $100 Million Trust to Benefit Stamford Hospital, The Rotary Club of Stamford, The First Presbyterian Church of Stamford, Others

Published: March 30, 2016


Stamford Hospital, The Rotary Club of Stamford and The First Presbyterian Church of Stamford announced today that they are among the very grateful beneficiaries of a landmark gift, a $100 million charitable trust from the estates of long-time Stamford resident Kingsley Gillespie and his son, Kenyon Gillespie.

Dan Morris, President of the Rotary Club of Stamford (left) joins Stamford Hospital Foundation Chairman H. Darrell Harvey; Brian G. Grissler, President and CEO of Stamford Health; and Dr. David Van Dyke, Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Stamford at the Gillespie Gift announcement on March 30, 2016

This gift continues the Gillespie family’s lifelong legacy of philanthropy to the Stamford community, as well as their commitment to healthcare, community service and faith. Other beneficiaries of the charitable trust include Setauket Presbyterian Church in Setauket, Long Island, The Long Island Museum of American Art History & Carriages and MIT. Every year, the charities will receive the income earned by the Trust.

Civic Leader and Former Publisher of The Advocate

Kingsley Alexander Gillespie, former publisher of The Advocate & Greenwich Time newspapers and former owner of Stamford’s radio station WSTC-AM, passed away on April 30, 1984 at the age of 88.

Kingsley Gillespie not only shaped the news in the region, he was also an active civic leader and driving force in the growth and development of the city where he was born. Outside the paper, Mr. Gillespie was an active member of the community, where he was a benefactor and former Trustee of Stamford Hospital; a founding member and former president of The Rotary Club of Stamford, and a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Stamford for over 70 years.

Kenyon Gillespie shared his father’s commitment to community. He was a private man devoted to his parents, Kingsley and Doris, and his wife, Dorothy. Kenyon was a successful private investor who managed his inheritance for over 30 years always with the intention of benefiting his father’s charities. He lived a quiet life at his family home in Setauket, Long Island, never seeking recognition for his tremendous gift.

Ensuring the Future of Healthcare

Stamford Hospital will receive 50% of the income from the $100 million Gillespie Trust. This $50 million gift is the largest gift in the Hospital’s 120-year history.

“The Gillespie family’s gift is truly inspirational and will impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients for generations to come. We are proud to be part of the Gillespie family legacy and will continue to work hard to bring the best care to our community,” said Brian G. Grissler, President and CEO of Stamford Health.

Kingsley Gillespie has a long, rich history with the Stamford Hospital starting in 1947 when he joined the Hospital board. Kingsley continued supporting the Hospital for the next 37 years. He was one of the founding trustees of the Stamford Hospital Foundation and served as the vice president for 15 years. Kingsley was known as a visionary at the Hospital who focused on strategic planning with an eye toward the quickly evolving technological advancements in healthcare. He was determined that his community received the best healthcare available.

Service Above Self

Kingsley Gillespie was a charter member of the Rotary Club of Stamford, which was founded in 1923. He served as president in 1928 and was a recipient of Rotary International's highest honor, the Paul Harris Fellowship. Kingsley's life, and now his legacy, can be summed up through the lens of the Rotary's motto: "Service Above Self."

Through Kingsley and Kenyon’s generosity and that of the entire Gillespie family, the Rotary Club of Stamford will be able to continue to support ongoing initiatives, such as the Dictionary Project, Junior Achievement, and the annual scholarship awards, in addition to expanding the scope of projects in the community and worldwide. The Rotary Club of Stamford will receive 10% of the income from the Gillespie Trust.

“This is a gift that holds tremendous potential for the mission of our club, which is to make a better community and world. As the full breadth of this bequest unfolds, we will carefully serve as stewards of the Gillespie legacy and look to have the meaningful impact the Gillespies would want. I would like to thank the Gillespies for this honor, and all of us at our club are excited to carry their legacy forward,” said Dan Morris, President of the Rotary Club of Stamford.

Steward of God’s Gifts 

Kingsley Gillespie was raised in Stamford’s First Presbyterian Church and in turn, he and his wife Doris raised their children, Joan and Kenyon, there. As a member for more than 70 years, Kingsley helped move the congregation through significant changes of growth and expansion that mirrored the changing face of Stamford. The Church will also receive 10% of the Gillespie Trust.

“The congregation of First Presbyterian Church is humbled by the Gillespie family’s gift. The Gillespies have been a part FPC for more than a century. They helped imagine and build the Fish Church. We are blessed to be entrusted with continuing their stewardship of God’s gifts. This transformational gift will sustain our mission ‘to know and share God’s grace in Jesus Christ’ for generations to come. While we have only just begun to digest the significance of this gift, we are deeply grateful and excited to discern how to honor the Gillespie’s dedication to both the life of faith and public service,” said Dr. David Van Dyke, Pastor of the Church.

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