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Philanthropic Hero Biography

Seattle, Washington

Born in Mexico, Esperanza Rich came to the United States with her parents at a very young age, eventually moving to Iowa. Despite many hardships- the death of her father, feeling inferior because of the color of her skin and working long hours in the sugar beet fields- Esperaza and all her siblings graduated from their Iowa high school.

Throughout the course of her life in Iowa, Esperanza and her family experienced the generosity of many people including that of two women who brought the family food, clothing and toys every Saturday. These simple Saturday exchanges made these women Esperanza's role models.

Many years later, one of the women - after moving with her husband to Seattle - invited Esperanza and her husband to visit. Upon visiting, Esperanza and her husband decided to move there and were able to find work. Now retired, Esperanza is as generous to people as she feels people always have been to her. Working with the St. Vincent de Paul Society, a Roman Catholic lay organization that fosters personal outreach to poor and needy people of all faiths, Mrs. Rich is able to help low-income families attain food, clothing, bus tickets, rent and utility assistance. She also gives them hope.

To ensure that her charitable works are continued past her own life, Esperanza is leaving a legacy to the St. Vincent de Paul Society in her will. "With the help of God, I've been able to serve the poor through the Conference, geared toward Hispanics. Therefore, in thanksgiving to our Lord, I've included St. Vincent de Paul in my will."

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