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No Rhyme or Reason for Outrageous Gift

November 25, 2002

Ruth Lilly's donation of $100 million to a poetry magazine is truly a selfish act (Nov. 19). Instead of giving her money to those who could truly benefit from it -- such as those who can't afford the drugs her namesake pharmaceutical company sells -- she has chosen to lavish a huge endowment on a magazine that prints some poetry. There is no way in the world that this magazine could ever need that much money. A gift of $1 million would have been more than enough to ensure that her cherished Poetry magazine could keep on going.

Lilly did not earn any of that money. She was born into great wealth that came from hard-working men and women who paid good money to buy the drugs from her family's company. By virtue of this gift she has shown that she has no compassion for her fellow human beings. It truly disgusts me. I call on Poetry magazine to turn down this ridiculous gift and instead ask Lilly to set up a foundation to distribute this $100 million to disabled Americans who cannot afford their much-needed medications.

Jonathan Mendel

Los Angeles

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