Elkhart Left $125 Million by Successful Former Resident

An Elkhart resident has left $125 million to his hometown to help its development and future prosperity.

David Gundlach, a wealthy entrepreneur and movie producer, died late last year and has left local residents and his family stunned by leaving the huge fortune to a charity based in his hometown.

His estate has bequeathed $125 million to the Elkhart County Community Foundation of Elkhart, Ind. The foundation's President, Pete McCown, has told the Daily News: "The scale of impact that this gift will have on this community is quite historic. For us, on a per capita basis, it will have remarkable effects."

The multi-millionaire passed away last October from a heart attack aged just 56. He had previously mentioned his intention to offer money to his hometown community, but most had thought it would just be a regular donation - not a massive giving like the one he eventually gave.

McCown has told WNDU-TV: "He simply told me, 'kiddo, I've put the community foundation in my will.'"

Most knew that Gundlach was well-off; owning a production company in Los Angeles, and making a fortune through Hastings Direct - an insurance company he had established overseas. However, not even his own family members seemed to know the size of his assets.

Gundlach has put his faith firmly in the local charity and has not demanded that it uses the money in any particular way, but simply that the charity's board use the funds in any way they see fit.