A woman who was a longtime influential force in Washington, D.C., philanthropy efforts has passed away at the age of 95. Betty Brown Casey, who inherited a large fortune from her husband, donated millions to local schools and hospitals and helped civic group plant thousands of trees in the area.
Perhaps most notably, Casey donated lots of money to the Washington National Opera. The WNO named Casey life chairman in 1999.
Around 20 years ago, after reading an article in the Washington Post, Casey felt compelled to get involved in the issue of declining tree cover in D.C. She donated $100 million dollars, including an initial $50 million to the Garden Club of America, to support what is now called Casey Trees, a non-profit that plants and cares for trees in D.C. The group has planted close to 50,000 trees in the city.
Casey also survived a car bombing shrouded in mystery (you can read more about that 1990 incident here).
Casey was quite quiet and unassuming, not giving interviews and proclaiming that she “liked the quiet life.” She was a former psychiatric social worker, married to Eugene B. Casey for 31 years. Eugene Casey was an agricultural adviser to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and is responsible for building malls, apartments and low-cost homes in the Rockville and Gaithersburg areas, where he made his fortune.
Her death was confirmed by her lawyer, Brendan V. Sullivan, Jr., who said she had been in poor health but did not give a specific illness.