Back to Archive

Benjamin Franklin: Inventor, Statesman, Philosopher and Economist

Ben Franklin was born in Boston on January 6, 1706. In 1788, he wrote, “I have sometimes almost wished it had been my destiny to be born two or three centuries hence.” Perhaps it was this thought that led him to set aside in his will, prior to his death in 1790 at the age of 84, $5,000 to be held in trust for the citizens of Pennsylvania for the next two hundred years and invested. In 1991, after the fund had matured, his original $5,000 had grown to over $2 million. When the fund was liquidated by the trust, the city of Philadelphia received 26% and the remaining 74% was distributed to 32 community foundations throughout Pennsylvania.