Celebrating 10 years of the Arnold I. Besserud Fund

Posted: Oct 05 2021

Arnold Besserud was an extraordinarily modest and unassuming man. He lived humbly and established his network of friends through the soup kitchens and food pantries in Minot. He participated in these programs, sharing meals and establishing friendships with those in attendance. When he died, Mr. Besserud asked that the Minot Area Community Foundation see that his legacy went on by first helping those that need it most.
This year, we celebrate 10 years since The Arnold I Besserud Fund was established at The Minot Area Community Foundation (MACF). In 10 years, The Besserud Fund has granted $1.45 Million back into our communities. The primary intent of his endowment is to serve food pantries, soup kitchens and humanitarian needs along with other priority needs in the community.
The Besserud Fund has made it possible for the Foundation to continually benefit soup kitchens and food pantries in and around Minot and through his fund, MACF will be able to continue this support forever. There are currently 7 soup kitchens serving 5 weekly lunch meals, 2 evening meals and 1 breakfast. All meals are served by area churches and a host of volunteers. Since the inception of The Besserud Fund, a total of $163,750 has been invested into meal enhancements at area soup kitchens.
There are three main food pantries in Minot - Our Lady of Grace, Salvation Army and The Lord’s Cupboard. In the last 10 years, The Besserud Fund has granted $200,100 directly to food pantries. These amounts do not include grants to soup kitchens and food pantries for equipment. Grants for equipment, including walk-in fridges and freezers for example, total $161,270 over the last 10 years.
“Arnold Besserud’s thankful response to the hospitality he received at the food pantry is touching more lives than he could have imagined.” Says Gerald Roise of The Lord’s Cupboard food pantry, “We’re forever grateful and appreciative of how one man’s generosity changes our community!”
Local food pantries primarily rely on donations and food drives for their inventory. The MACF Donation Station, which was also made possible by the Besserud Fund, has been able to help food pantries see an increase in area food drives. The Foundation, along with the Besserud Fund, has also sponsored a Challenge Grant that encourages area organizations to utilize the Donation Station for food collection drives. If an organization hosts a food drive between Sept. 1 and December 31, 2021, and utilizes the Donation Station, that organization can also earn a $500 grant for the food pantry of their choice if they successfully collect 1,000 pounds of food. This is the 4th year that MACF has hosted the Challenge Grant.
Because of experienced volunteers in our community being able to identify additional needs, The Besserud Fund has been able to help in even more ways. Items like socks, toiletry items, and gifts at Christmas time have been provided to patrons of area soup kitchens. Basic humanitarian grants and other impactful community projects have totaled an amazing $926,038 over the last 10 years. Some of these grants include seed funding to establish the Men’s Winter Refuge, the Donation Station, the Minot Commission on Aging Meals on Wheels program, Souris Valley United Way Backpack Buddies program and The Sanctuary Sober Living Home.
“The Minot Area Community Foundation is honored by the privilege that Mr. Besserud and all our donors have bestowed upon us.” Says Jason Zimmerman, MACF President, “It is very humbling to have the responsibility of ensuring our donor’s wishes are met well after they are no longer with us.”

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