Creating a Family Legacy
Born in Hancock, Iowa in 1934, Mitzi Fox began calling Albion “home” when she and her husband, Jim, moved back to his hometown in 1960. Jim succeeded his father as president of First National Bank in Albion in 1963, and the couple spent their lives working in and for their community.
“Jim was community-minded person. He owned the bank, which was one of the first go-to places whenever there was a need in the community. His leadership was important,” said Jay Wolf of the Boone County Area Foundation Fund. Jim and Mitzi shunned the spotlight and taught their five children to do acts of charity, not to have your name on a building or in the paper, but simply to do good.
Mitzi delivered Meals on Wheels for more than 30 years and served as a mentor for TeamMates. Young people were a passion of hers. She taught high school confirmation classes and shared her love and knowledge with students taking classes at the Olson Nature Preserve northwest of Albion.
After watching the work of the Boone County Area Foundation Fund, she saw the community fund as a way to carry out her charitable goals far beyond her lifetime.
After Jim’s death, Mitzi had realized she was not in a position, without family in the business, to own and operate the bank. Turning to her financial advisors, Mitzi created a Charitable Remainder Trust. This tax-exempt trust received ownership of her shares of the bank stock. The shares were then sold, and the proceeds from the sale were reinvested to generate income for Mitzi’s lifetime and allowed her to honor her own and her husband’s wishes to give back to community after their lifetimes.
“A couple years ago, Mitzi informed the fund that she would like to make a major gift of more than $266,000 to replace the old swimming pool. But she wanted to make sure the community was behind the idea and came up with a plan. There probably would be no swimming pool had it not been for Mitzi. Right away, a committee got organized to not only raise money, but to even pass a $2.95 million bond issue. That opened the door for a matching Kiewit Foundation grant,” said Jay Wolf.
The Boone County Area Foundation Fund is one of several beneficiaries of her Charitable Remainder Trust. Her gift of more than $350,000 was placed in the community’s unrestricted Legacy Endowment, which will continue to grow and give back for generations.
“Mitzi was always thinking in the long-term,” said Fund Advisory Committee member Rori Erickson. “She saw the pool project not just as a place for kids to swim, but a point of pride for the community. She spent hundreds of hours working on every detail. It was a personal privilege to work alongside Mitzi. I learned so much from her,” said Erikson.
Mitzi passed away in July 2013, just a few weeks before the groundbreaking ceremony for the new swimming pool she had spearheaded. However, her love for the people and places she and Jim cherished will live on forever.
Photo Caption: Mitzi Fox poses with volunteers at the start of a campaign to replace Albion’s old swimming pool.