Fort Wayne philanthropist Ione Auer, who died in January 2007 at the age of 103, has left large gifts to each of several Fort Wayne institutions: the Allen County Public Library, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and the Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. Each will receive a one million dollar endowment now plus additional $1 million donations annually for the next ten years. The funds are earmarked for "improving the quality of life for area residents," just as Ione Auer wished.
The Auer Foundation, established in 1985, was funded upon Ione Auer’s death. Her husband, Edward, a Lincoln National Life Insurance Co. executive, died in 1975.
Allen County Public Library officials said the gift could be used to help pay for operation of the library’s renowned genealogy department – the largest publicly owned genealogy collection in the world.