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People Top 5
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PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- June 07, 1999
- Vol. 51
- No. 21
Matel Dawson Works Hard, Lives Frugally—and Has Given Away $1 Million
Divorced in 1976, Dawson, who has a grown daughter, began giving in 1991. The eighth-grade graduate has donated $230,000 to the United Negro College Fund, $200,000 to Louisiana State, $10,000 to community colleges, $112,000 to various churches—and a total of $440,000 to Wayne State. "Students send him thank-you notes," says Donald Ritzenhein, a vice president at the school. "That seems to be what he wants." Dawson has also been treated to trips, including one in 1998 to New York City, where he met Bill Cosby. "He put his arms around me and said, 'Where'd you get all that money from?' " recounts Dawson, still tickled by the memory. "I said, 'I'm tryin' to catch up with you!' "
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