September 06, 2021

Erb Funds Grow With Time and Attention

Honoring a Friendship

Almost 45 years ago, Swarthmore resident Thomas B. McCabe, who was president and CEO of Scott Paper Company, decided to honor a friendship by transferring 4,000 shares of Scott Paper stock to a designated fund at Taylor Hospital.

Today, that $55,000 in stock is now worth more than $1 million. It is a great example of how a well-managed fund can grow, create a legacy and be used to benefit the donor’s interests.

In this case, McCabe and his two sisters created and named the fund for their close friend Dr. William H. Erb, a general surgeon at Taylor Hospital, who also was McCabe’s doctor. McCabe suggested using the fund’s income to benefit the hospital in a manner that would further Dr. Erb’s interests in surgery and medicine rather than bricks and mortar.

Eight years later, McCabe made another contribution — $1,000 plus the sum of accumulated income of Dr. Erb’s fund — to establish a hospital fund named for Sally Erb, wife of Dr. Erb. The purpose of that designated fund was to beautify the hospital’s grounds.

A Designated Fund at The Foundation for Delaware County

The two funds were combined into one fund and inherited by The Foundation for Delaware County when the Crozer Keystone Health System, which included Taylor Hospital, was sold to another entity. From this point forward, the foundation will administer the fund, now valued at $1.3 million, in accordance with the wishes of the doctor’s son, Dr. William H. Erb Jr. of Rose Valley, who is now the fund’s sole trustee. Dr. Erb Jr., 78, followed in his father’s footsteps and practiced general surgery in Delaware County until he retired 18 years ago.

McCabe was himself a savvy businessman and investor. When he was 21 years old, a year after graduating from Swarthmore College, he joined Scott as a $15-a-week salesman. At the time, the company had 500 employees and a single paper mill in Chester, PA.

In 1921, at the age of 28, McCabe became a member of the company’s board. Six years later he became president and CEO, positions he held for 39-years. Under his leadership, the company became a multinational corporation with 60,000 employees and more than 60 plants around the world.

He knew something about economics, too. During President Harry Truman’s administration, he was appointed to the Federal Reserve Board, and within three months became chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Continuing the Legacy

In 2018, The Foundation for Delaware County made a $100,000 contribution from the funds to The Community’s Foundation to beautify the grounds of the memorial garden at Asana Hospice in Ridley Park.

Dr. Erb Jr. says he has been very satisfied with how the funds have been managed since their creation. “Over the years, it grew and grew and grew.”

Learn more about giving to a designated fund.