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MPLF Receives Bequest from Estate of Madison Journalist Helen Matheson Rupp


Contact: Jenni Collins
                Executive Director, Madison Public Library Foundation

Madison Public Library Foundation Receives Bequest from Estate of Madison Journalist Helen Matheson Rupp

May 10, 2011 – Madison, WI – The late Helen Matheson Rupp has left a bequest $3,472,000 to the Madison Public Library Foundation.

“The gift was a wonderful surprise,” said Jenni Collins, Executive Director of the Madison Public Library Foundation. “It is the largest gift in the Foundation’s fifteen-year history.”

Helen Matheson Rupp, who died last year at age 88, was the first woman executive at the Wisconsin State Journal, where she worked from 1942 to her retirement in 1977.  She first worked as a reporter and feature writer, later becoming Sunday editor in 1949 and assistant manager in 1957.  Upon her retirement in 1977, she was awarded the YWCA-Madison’s Women of Distinction Award for community service, professional achievement, integrity, leadership, and dedication to the lives of others.

After retirement, Matheson Rupp wrote on a freelance basis, traveled extensively and remained active in many professional and community organizations, many of them related to reading, history and civic engagement.

“I wish I would have had a chance to know Helen Rupp,” commented Jenni Collins, “from talking to those who knew her she sounds like a dynamic, smart, and inspiring lady.”

According to those close to Rupp, libraries were instrumental in her work and personal life. In making her decision to make this sizable bequest to Madison Public Library Foundation, she determined she wanted to leave a gift that had a lasting impact on the entire Madison Public Library system.

Ken Frazier, former Director of UW-Madison's General Library System, noted that "she believed that libraries were places that could inspire people…Her career was devoted to writing and reading—and she herself was a great example of someone who never stopped being interested in learning new things.”

The estate gift was unrestricted to Madison Public Library Foundation. The Foundation’s board determined it will use $1,472,000 to seed the campaign for the new Central Library to ensure the success of the campaign in reaching its $8 million goal by 2013. And in keeping with the Foundation’s strong commitment to insuring future support for the entire Madison Public Library system, $2 million from the Rupp bequest has been reserved for the permanent endowment. 

Planned gifts are an increasingly important part of the charitable giving process. The Foundation is hosting an educational workshop on estate planning on Thursday, May 12 at 10:30 a.m. at the Goodman South Madison Branch Library, 2222 South Park Street.  The workshop will provide information on wills, taxes, and the changes happening in 2011 that will affect your family's financial planning.  Presenters include Amy Overby of Madison Community Foundation, and Sheila Boothby Stevens of Michael Best & Friedrich, LLP.  Interested individuals should RSVP to Jenni Collins at or call 608-266-6318.

"Helen Matheson Rupp's generosity will have a long-lasting impact on Madison's public libraries and the people who rely on them," said Rick Chandler, President of the Madison Public Library Foundation Board. "And our plan is that through the new Central Library and the endowment generations to come will benefit from this amazing gift.”


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Please contact Jenni Jeffress, or 608.266.6318 for media inquiries.

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