Money will no longer be an issue for many non-profit organizations in Elkhart, after David Gundlach left his personal fortune to a community foundation that supports the county.
The Elkhart County Community Foundation's President, Pete McCown said, "The fun part is, none of us had a sense of how much, how large this gift would be, he simply told me, 'kiddo, I've put the community foundation in my will.'"
Gundlach's fortune of 125 million dollars came from an insurance company he started abroad. McCown said it would be similar to a Geico or Progressive. Friends and family knew he was worth a lot, but not the extent of it.
"He was an Elkhart kid who didn't need to prove to people that he had been successful, he knew that he had been successful," said McCown.
Gundlach grew up in Elkhart and always kept the city close to his heart, even as he traveled abroad.
"He never quit thinking of Elkhart and treating Elkhart as being his home. His roots always stayed there, he never lost site," said a family friend of Gundlach, Liz Naquin Borger.
Gundlach outlived his father and brother, but had a very close relationship with his mother, now 94, who still lives in Elkhart.
She, along with his friends, are so proud of his contribution to his hometown, which will benefit Elkhart for years to come.
"I think it's going change how people feel about Elkhart, I really do. To see, it gives you kind of a sense of surprise and pride to think somebody valued this community that much," said Kathy Royer, Executive Director of the Learning Generation Initiative, one of the gift's many beneficiaries.
The community, his family, and friends have kind words for what the Gundlach fund will do for Elkhart.
"Dave, your story and your decision is remarkable, in it's size and magnitude. And you will change the lives of people in Elkhart County forever," said McCown.