During his lifetime in the oil and gas business, Michael Benedum amassed a fortune, ranking him in his day among the 100 wealthiest Americans. Mr. Benedum operated his worldwide business from corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mr. and Mrs. Benedum, natives respectively of Bridgeport and Blacksville, West Virginia, established residence in Pittsburgh in 1907 and lived here for over 50 years. Mrs. Benedum died in 1951; Mr. Benedum in 1959.
Michael and Sarah Benedum named the Foundation in memory of their only child, Claude Worthington Benedum, who died in 1918 at age 20. In creating the Foundation in 1944, the Benedums expressed the wish that grantmaking be focused in West Virginia and Pittsburgh, their native and adopted homes. Since inception, the Foundation has distributed in excess of $565,000,000 as of December 2022.
You may also want to read Excerpts from Mr. Benedum’s Last Will and Testament for his remarkable statement of charitable purpose.