Atheist gives money to church to start a scholarship

Philanthropist and retired hedge-fund manager Robert W. Wilson said he is giving $22.5 million to the Archdiocese of New York to fund a scholarship program for needy inner-city students attending Roman Catholic schools. Wilson, 80, said in a phone interview today that although he is an atheist, he has no problem donating money to a fund linked to Catholic schools.

“Let’s face it, without the Roman Catholic Church, there would be no Western civilization,” Wilson said. “Shunning religious organizations would be abhorrent. Keep in mind, I’m helping to pay tuition. The money isn’t going directly to the schools.”

Wilson’s donation is the largest the archdiocese has ever received.

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