The foundation has its roots in a humble frontier feed store. Founded in the 1890s, the store eventually grew into a sizable company with a household name. Relatives of the three brothers who grew that company founded their foundation in the 1940s, and it has been in operation ever since.
Today, the board of the foundation, which is comprised of descendants of the brothers, pays homage to its history by keeping track of other descendants through familial records. There are now dozens of descendants and, upon reaching the age of 18, they are all eligible to join the foundation as a non-voting member and attend board meetings. The foundation will match up to three member gifts to charity for as much as $1,500 total in a given year. Members are also able to provide feedback via grant committees for organizations that have applied for funding.
The foundation’s tradition of making giving a (very large) family enterprise is one of its most cherished hallmarks. Even so, all that gift-matching and grant committee activity makes for an enormous amount of paperwork and a sizable administrative burden.