Remembering generous donations from Besserud
Since the early days of our community, the Magic City has had a rich history of philanthropic giving. You could drive main street and central avenue and the names on the store fronts were many of the very names that established that history.
Today, we can drive those same streets along with Broadway and 20th Avenue, to name a few, and the names that adorn those businesses help continue to comprise the giving continuum of Minot. But not all philanthropic giving comes with a press release, big announcement or by a business owner.
Some of the largest and most impactful gifts that have been bestowed on numerous organizations in Minot have come anonymously or after the donor has passed in the form of a testamentary gift.
Such is the case with the Arnold I. Besserud Endowment at the Minot Area Community Foundation and this is his story. Mr. Besserud lived a very unassuming and modest life. A 1937 graduate of Minot High School, he attended college for two years and then spent his career travelling the world, pursuing his vocation as a civil engineer with United States Army Corps of Engineers.
Mr. Besserud lived humbly and invested diligently and as with many that grew up in the depression era, the experience of living with so little motivated him greatly. As he grew older, he established his network of friends through the local soup kitchens and food pantries of Minot. He participated in their programs, sharing meals and creating enduring friendships. In his later years, Mr. Besserud volunteered at those same organizations to provide a helping hand to all who gave their time in assisting those who were in need. When he passed away, Mr. Besserud asked that the Minot Area Community Foundation see that his legacy went on by first helping those that need it most and second, to support other priority needs in the community as identified by the Foundation.
This year, we celebrate 10 years since the inception of the Arnold I. Besserud fund at the Minot Area Community Foundation and to date the Besserud gift is the largest gift in Foundation history. Since its inception, the fund has granted over $1.45 million dollars to meal and humanitarian programs in Minot and the surrounding area. This fund has helped new soup kitchens to open, and others rebuild after the devastating flood in 2011. It has assisted in helping local food pantries continue to purchase food to feed families in need. Other programs around the community that this gift has supported include, the Men’s Winter Refuge, Sanctuary Sober Living Home, Meals on Wheels and Backpack Buddies along with numerous others.
The board of directors and staff at the Minot Area Community Foundation are honored by the privilege that Mr. Besserud and all our donors have bestowed upon us. We continually strive to ensure that the intent of those gifts are met with every grant request that we receive.