Fox Cities estate gift was state’s largest in 2018

Posted on Feb 13, 2019 :: Insight on Business, Web Exclusive.
Jessica Thiel
Posted by of Insight Publications

An estate gift of $103 million arranged by the late David L. Nelson and his wife Rita to the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region was ranked the 16th most generous donation in the country and the largest in Wisconsin in 2018.

The 19th annual Philanthropy 50, the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s ranking of America’s biggest donors, features veteran philanthropists Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos and Michael Bloomberg, but also several people making their debut on the list, including the Nelsons, who were married for 73 years and died within months of each other in 2017.

“This is the most generous gift ever for our region and will be a catalyst for not only addressing community needs today, but also for investing in exciting opportunities for future generations,” said Curt Detjen, Community Foundation president and CEO.

The Nelson estate gift, announced in May as more than $100 million, was among the largest in Wisconsin’s history. Another $3 million was contributed after further estate transfers. The bequest was by far the largest gift to the Community Foundation in its 33-year history.

The Nelson gift established the David L. and Rita E. Nelson Family Fund within the Community Foundation, a permanent, donor-advised endowment that awards grants primarily in the Green Bay and Fox Cities areas benefitting the couple’s interests.