$2.3M Estate Gift for Entrepreneurship and People Attraction
Rudolph R. Elis
A $2.3 million endowment established to support entrepreneurship and people attraction in north-central Nebraska has grown to nearly $4 million. Rudolph R. Elis created a donor-advised fund in 2006 that was funded by a bequest upon his death.
“This bequest is profoundly important to the work of the Nebraska Community Foundation. For many years NCF has talked about the importance of small business development and people attraction to generate new wealth creation in our hometowns. With this gift, Mr. Elis has given us a great model to share with others,” said Jeff Yost, NCF president and CEO.
Rudy Elis believed in hard work, living within one’s means, saving and investing. He was born and raised in Knox County. He worked the family farm outside of Verdigre and tended livestock all of his life. He never married and had no children. According to his friend and financial advisor, Brad Pflueger, Elis was a private person who spent most of his time working the home place. He was never seen in anything other than his overalls and work shirt.
Rudy Elis made frequent trips to Pflueger’s office in Norfolk and to O’Neill, where he visited with attorney Jan Krotter Chvala. He needed to make sure he had finances to cover his health care, but he wanted his remaining estate to be used by rural communities that were working to stay vibrant.
“Rudy didn’t believe in handouts,” said Jan Krotter Chvala. “He was not into charitable giving in the traditional sense. He wanted to see people helping themselves.”
Rudy Elis died at the age of 92 in September 2007, and was buried in a pair of overalls and a work shirt that he had personally selected. His values of hard work and self-reliance will live on through investments in working people for generations.