Telling success stories in Pender

Katie Gutzmann and Ray Welsh represent two cohorts of Pender residents.

Gutzmann is a transplant. An Albion native who bounced around Nebraska, eventually finding a perfect home for her young family in Pender. Welsh is a lifelong resident who’s witnessed the town’s growth over decades. It’s the Pender approach to development that brings newcomers like Gutzmann to town.

Over the years, Pender residents have put forth serious effort to make their hometown magnetic. The most obvious example is the $7 million community building, but the local affiliated fund has made possible improvements to ballparks, the local golf course, health care, and so much more. Welsh credits the community’s success to its can-do attitude. No cutting corners allowed.

“When we approach projects, doing it halfway is not an option,” Welsh said. “Even when many times it would be the easier path.”

Gutzmann found that approach to community-building appealing. Every day, Pender strives to dream bigger and do better.

“The people of Pender make it very special,” she said.

Welsh and Gutzmann are counting on the people of Pender to again rise to the occasion in pursuit of capturing 5% of Thurston County’s anticipated $402 million wealth transfer – which would amount to $20 million for the community to use to achieve shared dreams.

“When you throw these numbers out, it’s almost hard to get your arms around them and break that down to what it means to us as a community,” Welsh said.

With such a large scope, local leaders may need to make the wealth transfer less abstract.

“Our job as members of the foundation and as members of NCF is to demystify that number,” Welsh said. “It’s all about reaching the people who want to make a difference.”

Click below to hear more from Gutzmann and Welsh about their hometown of Pender:


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

When we all leave five, our hometowns thrive.

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