A Lifetime of Philanthropy Becomes a Legacy
During her life, Mitzi Fox was an active volunteer who championed many causes in and near Albion, Neb., where she moved in 1960 after marrying Albion native Jim Fox. He succeeded his father as president of the First National Bank of Albion, and the couple raised five children, while providing community leadership in and around Boone County.
After her husband's death, Mitzi carried on that tradition of service. She volunteered for Meals on Wheels for 30 years and was a Teammates mentor. She was a founding member of the Olson Nature Prairie Preserve, one of several prairies owned and managed by the Prairie Plains Resource Institute. She offered the lead gift that spurred Albion to raise funds to replace its public swimming pool.
Even the charitable remainder trust that provided her with lifetime income also served as a mechanism for her to give back to her community at her death.
In July 2013, Mitzi passed away and her family and friends lost a treasured member and many community organizations lost a passionate volunteer, mentor and supporter.
So it was bittersweet in December when 17 organizations and institutions, including the NET Foundation for Radio and NET Foundation for Television, received letters confirming her generous estate gifts.
"The fact that she named 17 nonprofits in her will really demonstrates to me that she understood the importance and power of giving back," says Michele Peón-Casanova, NET's director of major and planned giving. Michele knew Mitzi for about a decade and although she knew of Mitzi's planned gifts, the two gifts of approximately $95,000 each were a pleasant surprise.
"She placed great importance on conservation issues," Michele says. "She was big fan of [wildlife photographer] Michael Forsberg." He and NET filmmaker Michael Farrell co-produced Great Plains–America's Lingering Wild, which debuted in 2012.
"She really was a symbol for philanthropy and the power of giving," Michele says. "And she was so true to her word and lived her philosophy. For instance, there was a beautiful prairie around her ranch home."
Mitzi was especially a fan of NET Radio and listened to it frequently. She also enjoyed Backyard Farmer, Nebraska Stories, concerts and sports on NET Television.
In addition to the estate gifts, which will become part of the NET Endowment, Mitzi contributed to annual campaigns each year.
Organizations receiving gifts from the Fox trust are Voices for Children in Nebraska; Nebraska CASA Inc.; St. Michael's Church (Albion); Zion Lutheran Church (Albion); Prairie Plains Resource Institute; Boone County Area Foundation Fund at the Nebraska Community Foundation in memory of the L.J. and Mitzi Fox Family; Lutheran World Relief; Albion Education Foundation; Boone County Health Center Foundation; The Nature Conservancy to benefit the Nebraska Chapter; Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska; National Audubon Society to benefit Spring Creek Prairie and Rowe Sanctuary; NET Foundation for Radio; NET Foundation for Television; Nebraska Humanities Council; and Good Samaritan Society to benefit the Albion Center.
"We are so appreciative of generous friends like Mitzi Fox," Michele says. "We cannot thank Mitzi or her family enough for their support of NET and for their support of Nebraska. They truly live their ideals."
Each gift, big or small, has a positive impact at NET. Feel free to contact The NET Planned Giving Office at 800.634.6788 or plannedgiving@netNebraska.org with any questions you have.
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