BALTIMORE, NOV. 5 -- Harry Weinberg, a crusty and obscure Maryland multimillionaire and real estate wizard who died Sunday in Honolulu at 82, left nearly his entire fortune to a foundation intended exclusively to aid the poor, family members announced.

Estimated at more than $900 million, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation will be the 11th-largest foundation in the United States and by far the largest in Maryland.

Its portfolio of real estate, stocks and bonds is expected to generate at least $45 million a year for groups ranging from Goodwill Industries to religious charities.

The purpose and magnitude of the foundation drew praise from charitable organizations as well as political leaders, including Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer. "I liked Harry," Schaefer said. "I knew he was going to leave all his money to charity. It didn't surprise me."

He described Weinberg as a shrewd political activist who, despite their occasional differences, contributed to Schaefer's campaigns for mayor and governor.

The tough-talking, hard-dealing Weinberg, who made much of his fortune amassing commercial real estate and transit companies, died of bone cancer.

His wife, Jeanette, died last year.

Noted for his refusal to sell real estate he had acquired over the years, he owned dozens of buildings and strip malls in Baltimore, many of them unimproved properties in decaying commercial zones west of downtown.

A grammar school dropout and the son of immigrants, Weinberg was a largely self-taught entrepreneur who shunned publicity and, unlike most of the nation's other multimillionaires, lived a simple life, driving old cars, wearing inexpensive suits and shunning the country club scene.

In typically blunt language, he spelled out in the charter of his foundation exactly what it can and cannot do: 25 percent of its distribution must go to predominantly Jewish charitable organizations, 25 percent to predominantly "non-Jewish" organizations, and 50 percent to groups undesignated by "color, creed or race."

Also, Weinberg said, no money can go to colleges, universities or organizations supporting orchestras or museums.

"He figured they can get all they need without his help," said Shale D. Stiller, attorney for the foundation. "Harry was strictly for the poor and needy."

And true to Weinberg's real estate philosophy, Stiller noted, the charter also forbids the foundation's five trustees to sell any of the Hawaiian properties. It permits the sale of other properties, but only under "compelling circumstances."

Schaefer, in an interview, recalled a run-in with Weinberg in the 1970s over a shopping mall the city wanted for an urban improvement project. "He said if we tried to take it {by condemnation}, he'd fight us all the way through the courts." The city never bought the property.

Stiller said the foundation, which has its headquarters in Baltimore, is just getting started and will not be accepting grant requests for some time. Weinberg's farflung assets still have not been assembled and valued. When they are, he said, they will probably total $900 million to $1 billion. (Forbes magazine this year ranked Weinberg as the 70th-richest American, listing his net worth at $950 million after he had given $350 million to his foundation.)

Under federal rules, Stiller said, the charitable foundation must distribute at least 5 percent of the value of the assets each year, an estimated $45 million to $50 million.

Unlike many other wealthy people, Weinberg "never forgot where he came from . . . his immigrant family background and the fact that he had nothing as a child . . . . That's why the foundation is directed only at poor people," Stiller said.

As a leader in the Jewish community, "he would help the little synagogues, the little shuls, not the big ones," said Darrell D. Friedman, president of the Associated Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, formerly Associated Jewish Charities. Friedman's organization, under the foundation charter, is earmarked to receive up to $2 million a year.

A supporter of Israel, Weinberg wrote a check for $1 million to air condition 1,800 rooms at Tel Aviv nursing homes after a visit there last summer, Friedman said.

"He was always very generous when it came to the elderly and the poor," Friedman said.

Although Weinberg spent much of the last 22 years in Hawaii, he maintained his legal address in Baltimore and "considered himself a Baltimorean," Stiller said.

In setting up the foundation, he ordered almost all of his assets to be poured into it, leaving the residue, $3 million, for his four grandchildren, Stiller said. Weinberg had a son, Morton, and no daughters. Morton Weinberg received "a large sum of money" from his father several years ago, Stiller said.