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Late Rockville entrepreneur makes Chronicle of Philanthropy's top 50

The late philanthropist Skip Viragh (Courtesy of Chaminade College Preparatory School)

On the list of the nation's top philanthropists last year, a surprising local name appears somewhere between Oprah Winfrey ($41 million) and Ted Turner ($13 million). Rockville businessman Albert P. "Skip" Viragh died in December 2003, but his gift of $28 million to his old prep school was just announced last year -- the 32nd-largest charitable gift of 2009, according to the list compiled by the Chronicle of Philanthropy and Slate.

Viragh, founder of Rydex Fund Group and a pioneer in leveraged index funds, lived relatively quietly while amassing a fortune. According to the Chronicle, he died shortly after a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, with no time to plan any charitable bequests. But he told his brothers that he wanted to leave money to Chaminade College Preparatory School in St. Louis. The result, after much deliberation, is the school's largest-ever gift, which will fund a new arts center.

By The Reliable Source  |  February 10, 2010; 1:01 AM ET
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