11.13.17

On leaving a legacy: Diana and Al Nelson

At home outside Nederland, Diana and Al Nelson have come to think of the Community Foundation’s TRENDS Report as “the go-to publication.” 

 
“If you want to know what’s happening in Boulder and Boulder County – if you want to know the age distribution in our county, or what the local economic drivers are and how they relate to charitable giving – TRENDS is your best resource,” says Diana. “TRENDS also provides expert insights on who’s experiencing homelessness in our county, why, and what it all means.
 
“I really appreciate that the Community Foundation keeps a finger on the pulse of what’s happening.” 
 
Formerly a professional ballerina, Diana is particularly keen on following the arts, locally; but she’s also clued in and concerned about early childhood education. “No matter your passion – education, seniors, or the environment – TRENDS is the best way to stay well-informed about the diversity of our community, what’s special about living here, what the gaps are, and how you can make a difference,” adds Diana. “The Community Foundation supports all the causes we believe in.” 
 
So much so, that Diana has volunteered her time – more than once – to serve on the foundation’s grant selection committee. “The foundation has been gracious enough to invite me along on many site visits,” she says. “Seeing the work of foundation grantees – the nonprofits that help us to thrive as a community – just reinforced our belief that this is the best opportunity for us to support everything from education to the environment.”
 
As members of the Community Foundation’s Legacy Society, the Nelsons have upped the ante by designating property to the foundation upon their death, “to help this community that we care about continue to thrive.”
 
A third-generation Coloradan, Diana remembers her father as a “responsible, hardworking man who also cared deeply about this state.” In the 60s, he built two fourplexes in Greeley, selling one and keeping the other. “That fourplex meant a lot to me,” she says. “As a small child, I lived there with my parents and sister, and I lived there when I went to grad school at UNC, studying speech pathology, and with Al when we’d just gotten married.”
 
 
“Now as I’m retiring, we’ve done a complete remodel of the building, top to bottom, inside and outside – and we’ve done most of it ourselves,” Diana continues. “It’s a property that’s been with me throughout my entire life, and now it will help me through retirement. 
 
“Since we don’t have children, I want it to continue to make a difference after my death, and I can’t think of a better place for it to go than the Community Foundation. They will either sell it and use the profits to help people, or do something else with it, perhaps to answer a critical community need.”
 
“When I think of the energy I’ve put into this,” Al chimes in, “I wouldn’t do it except in remembrance of Diana’s father who built it, and out of respect for his foresight. He was ahead of his time.”
 
The Nelsons got to know former foundation President Josie Heath decades ago when she served as Chair of the Board of Boulder County Commissioners. “She represented those of us who live in the mountains,” recalls Al, who eventually campaigned for Josie when she ran for the U.S. Senate in 1990, garnering news coverage from the Daily Camera to Newsweek. 
 
“We grew to have the utmost respect for her – her work, and her devotion to community – and she’s the reason we got involved with the Community Foundation later on.”
 

Al Nelson with Josie Health in 1990, wearing her campaign T-shirt declaring “A women’s place is in the House and in the senate.”

Al Nelson with Josie Health in 1990, wearing her campaign T-shirt declaring “A women’s place is in the House and in the senate.”

Al Nelson with Josie Health in 1990, wearing her campaign T-shirt declaring “A women’s place is in the House and in the senate.”

 
“The more Josie shared with us about the work of the foundation, the more interested and supportive we became,” says Al. “And our support continues.”
 
For more information about joining the Community Foundation’s Legacy Society by making a planned gift, please get in touch