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Heritage Center Expansion Donors Recognized at Reception

Posted 2/09/11 (Wed)

Five major gifts to the expansion of the North Dakota Heritage Center were recognized at a legislative reception in Bismarck Jan. 6. The reception was sponsored by the State Historical Society of North Dakota and its Foundation and the Independent Community Banks of North Dakota.   The donors are:

Frank and JoAndrea Larson, Valley City, gave a gift of $100,000. Their son, Craig Larson, who is CEO of Starion Financial, spoke at the reception about his family’s love for history. The family has banking investments in several North Dakota towns, and Larson said they appreciate the state and its history.
Forum Communications, Fargo, and Bill Marcil, Sr., made a gift of $250,000, one of the first major donors prior to the 2009 Legislative Assembly.  A strong Foundation supporter for many years, Marcil wanted his donation used to help show early support for the project, which helped to leverage commitment from the state.
Ruth D. Hartman, Ellensberg, Washington, is a North Dakota native from the Wilton area whose family originated from Sweden. Hartman made her first gift to the Foundation in 1996 by writing a detailed family history which is on display in the Hall of Honors at the North Dakota Heritage Center. She made subsequent gifts and her $125,000 gift was the first major gift to a proposed expansion in the late 1990s.
Barbara McCormick of Devils Lake has made a $100,000contribution to the expansion. McCormick is active in many historical projects and serves her community and the state well.
The gifts in her community she has made include the Pioneer Daughters, Lake Region Heritage Center and Fort Totten Inn at Devils Lake. 
North Dakota Farmers Union, Robert Carlson, President, made one of the first major gifts to the expansion with a $100,000 gift. Richard Schlosser, a past Farmers Union board member, said the organization was pleased to give this gift on behalf of all of North Dakota’s farm families.
“We were delighted with the exceptional turnout for this legislative reception,” says Virginia Nelsen, executive director of the SHSND Foundation. “Our friend and donor base continues to grow every year.”

View photos from the 2011 Legislative Reception

Marlo Sveen, development director for the SHSND Foundation, says he is very pleased with the way the fundraising has been going for the Heritage Center expansion this year. “We will continue to look for additional gifts from individuals and corporations over the next several years.”
The 2009 Legislative Assembly authorized $51.7 million for the expansion of the exhibits and collections spaces of the North Dakota Heritage Center. Of this, $39.7 million in state funds was appropriated. An additional $12 million is being raised from private donors.
The expansion of the Heritage Center, which will nearly double its size with the addition of 97,000 square feet, is expected to be completed by 2014, the 125th anniversary of North Dakota statehood. Groundbreaking to begin construction for the Heritage Center was held Nov. 23.
The State Historical Society of North Dakota Foundation is a private, non-profit organization supported by membership and donations. It was formed in 1965 by the state legislature to generate private financial support for the State Historical Society’s projects and programs that are not funded by the legislature. 
The Foundation is governed by a board, which includes Jon McMillan, president, Fordville; Wally Beyer, vice president, Bismarck; Barb Lang, treasurer, Jamestown; Darrell Dorgan, secretary, Bismarck; Pat Grantier, Bismarck; Mike Gustafson, Kindred; Armen Hanson, Devils Lake; Robert Horne, Minot; Tom Riley, Fargo, Paul Olson, Fargo; Dalles Schneider, Bismarck; and State Historical Society Board liaison Gereld Gerntholz, Valley City. 
For more information contact Nelsen or Sveen at 701-222-1966 or visit