Big gift inspires community generosity in Keith County

In the summer of 2019, Keith County Foundation Fund received a substantial gift for a rural Nebraska community – an anonymous donor invested $8 million into the Fund, forever changing volunteers’ grantmaking capacity from $35,000 annually to upwards of $400,000.

“It was from somebody who loved the community and wanted to do something wonderful for us,” said FAC member Ken Snyder. “Which they did.”

The significance of the gift caused concern in some members of the community that people would be dissuaded from giving, either because they did not have a similarly large donation, or they assumed the $8 million would be more than enough the accomplish Keith County’s goals. Those concerns faded fast.

“It actually unleased so many ideas for the betterment of the community that we had maybe $450,000 in grant requests the first year after we had gotten this money,” Snyder said. “It not only stimulated ideas for community improvement. It gave the community the attitude that we really could accomplish these things and it stimulated all kinds of giving.”

With increased demand, volunteers are looking at the transfer of wealth as a major opportunity to push the community even further down the road toward prosperity. In the next 10 years, $565 million could change hands in Keith County. Locking down just 5% of that would amount to $28 million for community causes and unrestricted endowments. Volunteers are certain neighbors are ready to hear that message and are willing to make a difference for today and tomorrow, just like their family before them.

“Our parents and our grandparents were thinking about us,” said Pam Abbott, KCFF member and NCF board member. “They worked in community to create a place where we would want to live, work, and play.”

It only makes sense that the current generation would want to do the same.

“This is for the future, this is for our kids,” Abbott said. “We need to be thinking forward.”

Click below to hear more about Ken and Pam’s reflections on how generosity is fueling progress in Keith County:


Reach out to your professional advisor to learn how you can give and consult Nebraska Community Foundation’s Planned Giving resources for more information. You can also contact NCF’s Office of Gift Planning by calling 402-323-7330 or sending an email to

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