Community Foundation for Fox Valley Region Receives $100 Million Gift


The Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region in Appleton, Wisconsin, has announced an estate gift of more than $100 million from former media executive David L. Nelson and his wife, Rita.

The bequest, which more than quintuples the largest previous gift to the foundation, will establish the David L. and Rita E. Nelson Family Fund at the foundation and generate millions of dollars in grants annually in support of the charitable interests of the Nelsons and their family, including parks, recreation and waterways, education, health care, community services and community centers, and historic preservation. The foundation will appoint an advisory committee comprising people who know the Nelson family to award grants from the fund.

Initial grant awards totaling $3.5 million have been made to Grassy Island Range Lights ($2.62 million), Little Chute-Kaukauna ($650,000), Grignon Mansion ($50,000), Friends of High Cliff State Park ($50,000), Divine Savior Holy Angels High School ($30,000), Kaukauna High School ($30,000), the St. Vincent de Paul Society ($25,000), and St. Norbert College Parish ($15,000).

David Nelson, whose father served as mayor of Kaukauna in the 1930s and ’40s, helped manage companies that published newspapers in Appleton and Green Bay before investing in radio stations and other businesses. Rita became a teacher after raising the couple’s three sons. The Nelsons, who were married for seventy-three years, both died last year within five months of each other.

"This gift to the community foundation provides us and our area with a tremendous opportunity that we enthusiastically embrace," said Curt Detjen, president and CEO of the foundation. "We are humbled and incredibly grateful for the trust that the Nelsons have placed with us to ensure that the family’s legacy will be part of creating the exciting chapters ahead of us."

(Photo credit: Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region)

“Foundation Receives $100 Million Estate Gift.” Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region Press Release 05/01/2018.