To many, perhaps most of us, charitable foundations are deemed to be the province of the rich.Names of such giants of the past as Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and John D. Rockefeller come to mind.Today, their counterparts include Warren Buffet, Bill and Melinda Gates, and George Soros.
Those of us with more modest means might well be generous givers within the limits of our abilities, but it’s likely that few of us would entertain the notion that our “wealth” was sufficient to establish a charitable foundation.
And, yet, why not?To that question, Jim and Mary Bellor answered, “Why not, indeed?”Hence, in 2002, the James R. and Mary M. Bellor Foundation was established to help young people achieve the “American Dream” that Jim and Mary have enjoyed in such full measure.
The American Dream was first described by James Truslow Adams in his book The Epic of America, written in 1931.He states:
“The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. . . . It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages, merely, but a dream of a social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for whatever they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”
About the Founders
Both Jim and Mary grew up in modest circumstances.Jim’s father was a U.S. Government employee who worked at Boulder (now Hoover) Dam.Born in Las Vegas, Jim grew up in Boulder City, NV, a town created to house Hoover Dam employees.Mary’s father was a blacksmith in Greenleaf, WI, where Mary was born and grew up.Both their mothers were homemakers who raised their families in an atmosphere of love, warmth and stability, and instilled in their children values that continue to guide and inform their lives.
Having met while both were serving in the U.S. Air Force, Jim and Mary were married in 1954.In the years since, they have become the parents of six children and the grandparents of 10.They have lived in many interesting places and both have enjoyed successful careers. Jim served as a hospital administrator in his 23-year Air Force career and subsequently in civilian life. Mary was for many years primarily a homemaker, then as a secretary before ending her career with a 20-year stint as president of a charitable foundation in Washington, DC.
Happily, all six children have grown up to be successful in life and work.All have finished college and three have advanced degrees. Among them, they have 10 children who they now are guiding toward what they hope will be similarly good and productive futures.
Leaving a Legacy
To be blessed with a life so richly endowed with good fortune as Jim’s and Mary’s is a gift that demands repayment in kind.And so it is their hope that, through the Bellor Foundation, they and subsequent generations of Bellors will be able to lend a hand to other striving young people who are just embarking on their own quest for the American Dream.
Giving to the Foundation
Although the Bellors intend to fund the corpus of the foundation primarily with their own resources, gifts from others are welcome.