By Paul T. Rosynsky, STAFF WRITER
OAKLAND — Dr. Melvin Lee Makower first approached the East Bay Community Foundation in the mid-1980s with a $100 donation and a commitment to help the group in its efforts to build communities.
During the years, the Berkeley-based pediatric surgeon continued his relationship with the foundation, frequently meeting with its directors and promising to add the group to his will.
Foundation leaders appreciated Makower's attention and dedication, but they never thought his final act of kindnesswould result in a $2.7 million endowment — the largest unrestricted donation ever handed to one of the East Bay's oldest foundations.
'I had no sense his estate would be as large as it is,' said Michael Howe, East Bay Community Foundation president. 'He was not somebody who was seen as a major philanthropist.'"