In 1986, an 11-year-old girl named Lisa wanted to help the homeless, so she reached out to the free world's most powerful man, asking that he sponsor her in a charity event.
President Ronald Reagan replied with a heartfelt note and a check for $50, both of which are now up for sale for $20,000.
“Dear Lisa, I am very proud to sponsor you in the walkathon,” Reagan replied on White House letterhead on Aug. 26, 1986. “Thank you for asking. I know you’ll walk the seven miles and the enclosed is to help the cause you are serving. God bless you. Ronald Reagan.”
The now adult woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, never sent the check to the San Fernando Board of Realtors, which sponsored the Sept. 27, 1986, event. Instead, her parents replaced the Gipper's contribution with cash and kept the check for posterity.
Nathan Raab, vice president of The Raab Collection, a dealer of historical documents, said the original letter and $50 check signed from Reagan’s personal Bank of America account are now being offered for sale as a rare personal keepsake from the nation’s 40th president.
"The piece is a great rarity and also evocative of Reagan the man and Reagan the President."
- Nathan Raab, The Raab Collection
“This little-known episode in Reagan's life shows the kind of man he was and is a testament to his character,” Raab told FoxNews.com. “He cared enough that when he received a letter and request from a young child, the president devoted not only his valuable time as president, but also his personal funds to her.”
A search of public records and other private outlets have not revealed additional checks signed directly by Reagan, Raab said, making the discovery truly unique and historically important.
“You almost never seen letters of presidents to children,” Raab told FoxNews.com. “The piece is a great rarity, and also evocative of Reagan the man and Reagan the President.”
Reagan, Raab notes, was criticized at the time for slashing many domestic programs and often accused of being indifferent toward the homeless.
On the day Reagan replied to Lisa, he spent the afternoon in Los Angeles running errands and visiting old friends, according to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library.
“Into L.A. for our few days of seeing friends, etc.,” Reagan wrote. “We left the house at 10:40 a.m. and arrived at the suite at 11:45. Coming down the coast in a helicopter I watched for landmarks I remembered and was a little upset when I could locate them & then couldn’t remember their names, Topanga Canyon for example. After lunch a haircut and manicure, both overdue. Then George Scharfenberger one of the trustees of our blind trust & a lawyer came by, mainly to talk about our wills in view of the change in inheritance taxes. My 1981 tax change eliminated such tax on surviving spouses.”