Mike Batchelor invited the heads of 46 charities into his downtown office for one-on-one meetings to personally deliver the news. Nearby, on a small table, sat a box of tissues. Mike Batchelor accepted a $100 million donation from an "Anonymous Friend" to benefit Erie charities.
And then he proceeded: A donor had given a staggering $100 million to the Erie Community Foundation, and all of the charities would receive a share.
That was when the tears began to flow -- and the mystery began -- in this struggling old industrial city of 102,000 on Lake Erie, where the donor is known only as "Anonymous Friend."
Batchelor, president of the Erie Community Foundation, has been sworn to secrecy and will allow only that the donor worked with the organization for years to identify deserving recipients before the announcement over the summer.
Is the donor dead or alive? No comment, Batchelor says. What is the donor's connection to Erie? No comment.
What could Syracuse do with $100 million? I think that we could do a lot - starting with the near west and south side. If anyone has $100 million they'd like me to oversee. I'll get started on that right away...
Any idea's what you'd like to see done with $100 mil? NYCO, is that your hand up?