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Tim Beaton, Published November 15 2012

Letter: Fitting this week to recognize visionary work of Arthur Cupler

On May 10, 1960, Arthur Cupler, along with seven other visionaries, created the Fargo-Moorhead Area Foundation. In his speech to the Fargo Rotary Club on Jan. 18, 1961, Cupler said, “The foundation is a reservoir in which citizens, whether of large or small means, can make lasting contributions for the betterment of the community in which they win their livelihood.”

When Cupler and his wife, Clara, died in 1963 and 1978, respectively, their wills created the Arthur W. and Clara Cupler Fund at the Fargo-Moorhead Area Foundation and funded it with $355,000. Today, their combined gifts have grown to more than $1.7 million. To date, the Cupler Fund has distributed more than $2 million in college scholarships and because it is an endowment fund, it will continue to make distributions for this purpose in perpetuity.

In 2011, community foundations across the nation gave an estimated

$4.2 billion to a variety of nonprofit activities in fields that included the arts and education, health and human services, the environment and disaster relief.

The Fargo-Moorhead Area Foundation is proud to be one of the more than 700 community foundations nationwide that have changed lives, created jobs and transformed communities through philanthropy’s partnership with individuals, families and private and public organizations.

It is fitting during National Community Foundation Week, Nov. 12-18, that we salute the Cuplers and all individuals and businesses that have contributed more than

$89 million in bequests and direct donations, both large and small, to the FMAF through our 52 years of existence. As a result of the generosity and foresight of these individuals and businesses, the FMAF has distributed more than $33 million in grants and scholarships back into the community, using resources created in the community, donated in the community and managed in the community.

The words of Arthur Cupler still ring true today. “You and I,” he said, “or anybody, is not really the owner of what we have. We think we are, but we are actually trustees of it. Now that is an important fact to remember. And are we trustees for what? For what good that money can do, not only for ourselves and our dependents but also for what it can do for others.”


Beaton is executive director, Fargo-Moorhead Area Foundation.