The Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Region has announced an estate gift of more than $1 million from Joe K. Neel, Jr., a quiet philanthropist and an expert draftsman at Grand Forks Air Force Base who passed away on July 31, 2017.
The largest estate gift in the foundation’s twenty-year history will establish the Neel Family Fund, a permanent endowment that will generate support for music education for children 18 years of age and younger residing in Grand Forks County.
“The Community Foundation is honored to be the steward of Joe’s gift, which will provide tens of thousands of dollars each year to foster creativity, learning, and development in our community’s youth,” said Executive Director Becca Bahnmiller. “It is truly a gift to the entire region and will ensure Joe’s legacy lives on forever as future generations benefit from his forethought and generosity.”
Although a quiet giver throughout his lifetime, Joe supported a wide range of causes from animal advocacy and university education to the local library and park district. His ability to save and invest wisely provided six and seven figure gifts to beneficiaries in Grand Forks and beyond. In the fall of 2017, the Foundation was notified that it was the residual beneficiary of the Neel Estate; however, an estimated figure was not available to staff until early 2019 when the estate’s accounts were settled.
Grants from the Neel Family Fund will be determined by an advisory committee in partnership with Community Foundation staff.
The Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Region was established in 1998 as a nonprofit, community foundation created by and for the people of the region to encourage a spirit of philanthropy. Working in partnership with individuals, families, businesses, and trusted advisers, the Foundation manages over 100 charitable funds and provides grants to qualified nonprofit organizations and causes. With approximately $10.5 million in assets, the Foundation has granted over $6 million to date to create stronger, more vibrant communities across the region.
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