An endowed bequest of $2.3 million established by a bachelor farmer in 2008 has grown to $5,263,111—more than twice the amount of the original gift. Yet over the past decade, endowment earnings of nearly $1.8 million have been used to support entrepreneurship, leadership, and people attraction in Holt County and in the Norfolk area.
Mr. Rudolph Elis chose to benefit these communities because he admired how they were working to grow and stay vibrant. Over the past 10 years, more than 40 grants have supported programs in business coaching and succession planning, career academies in the public schools, entrepreneurship camps for middle schools, community visioning, strategic planning, and much more.
Rudy Elis was seldom seen in anything but his overalls and a flannel shirt, but he was a shrewd investor. He was not into giving hand-outs; he was interested in giving ambitious people a hand up. Grants made to organizations such as Holt County Economic Development, an NCF affiliated fund, are a perfect match for Mr. Elis’s charitable intentions. Now in its 11th year, HCED has been instrumental in these key economic development achievements:
- 214 new business starts, 56 expansions, and 31 business successions
- More than 600 jobs created and more than 230 retained
- Nearly 700 individuals and families have moved to Holt County
And for the first time in decades, population has begun to stabilize.
In the growing community of Norfolk, the Elis endowment grants are helping to meet workforce needs by preparing students for careers in agriculture, construction, drafting, health sciences, welding, and automotive and business technologies.
NCF salutes our friends who, like Rudy Elis, have chosen to believe in the future of Greater Nebraska by including their communities in their estate plans. Their legacies will enrich and empower generations to come.