Bradenton couple's love of animals reflected in $2.7M gift

vmannix@bradenton.comMay 8, 2013 

BRADENTON -- Maryann and Bill Vinall did not have children, but doted on animals.

"They loved them," said Marilyn Howard, the Manatee Community Foundation.

Quite a lot, it turns out.

Try $2.7 million worth.

That's the amount of the legacy gift the Mary Vinall estate donated to the Manatee-based foundation, the largest bequest it has received in 15 years of existence, according to board President Stu Gregory.

A $2.4 million gift from philanthropist Lawrence Ruf, who died in 2009, was the previous mark.

"This will go a long way," Howard said Tuesday of Vinalls' generosity. "We only had one other that addressed animal issues. So this is nice and will allow us to distribute some serious grant dollars."

That will take place next year, she said.

The Bill and Maryann Vinall Fund will support animal welfare programs and that's not all. It will also support wildlife rescue and therapy programs such as service dogs, horseback-riding and pets visiting nursing homes and senior residences.

The couple retired to Bradenton in 2000 and were active in the Freedom Village community. Both are deceased.

"The Vinall Fund will support a lot of different animal causes," Howard said. "The Humane Society, sure, but the Animal Rescue Coalition and more. It will also help the community as Manatee County pursues its 'no-kill agenda.'"

Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7055. Twitter:@vinmannix

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