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The Power of Endowment Powers Music

A person's lifelong support of beloved causes can be carried forward for generations to come through the power of an endowed field of interest fund.

Above: (Left) Opera for the Young visits Rocky Branch Elementary School; (center) tubas get a refresh at Chisago Lakes High School; (right) students Celia Carter-Thomspon, Josue Quechulpa Lee, and Michael Quechulpa Lee smile with the instruments. The students are part of the Turtle Lake Middle/High School band program, which has received several Music Education Grants throughout the years.

This year, the St. Croix Valley Foundation celebrates an astonishing example of this cycle of giving, growing, granting, and in this case, music-making. Twenty years ago, Nyda Swanson established the Valley Music Education Fund with an endowed gift of $610,000.

Music was a defining facet of Nyda's life. She was an organist, choir director and music educator. Throughout their lifetime together, Nyda and her husband, Andersen Windows President & CEO Earl Swanson, supported countless civic and cultural causes benefitting the St. Croix Valley. After Earl's passing, Nyda partnered with the St. Croix Valley Foundation to establish a Music Education Fund that would ensure ongoing support for Valley-wide music education programs. Because she made the gift while still living, Nyda was able to experience the joy and impact of her gift, realizing her passion for music education would continue forever.

In the 20 years since this field of interest fund was established, over $614,000 has been granted to support music programs in schools throughout the Valley. Through the power of endowment (investing the principal of the gift while utilizing earnings for grant making), the Music Education Fund balance is near $670,000 today. In other words, the gift that Nyda endowed to support her passion for music education will support that cause forever.

Nyda (who died at age 100 in 2010) trusted the St. Croix Valley Foundation to ensure that grants would not preplace budgeted school music programs and that younger children would benefit along with older children. The St. Croix Valley Foundation gathers community members and music educators to form an annual grant review committee. The number of worthy requests regularly exceeds fund available to grant. This makes the committee's annual task challenging - yet they appreciate the special opportunity to fund programs throughout the region that honor Nyda's gift.


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