Natural Gifts

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Published on: Nov. 2, 2006

Last revision: Nov. 29, 2010

It was the dream of a lifetime for Graham and Gerhild Brown to own a house in the Ozarks. The couple fulfilled that dream when they bought 189 acres in Dent County and built their retirement home there. When Graham became a widower, he found another dream—creating a natural legacy that would proclaim to future generations his and his late wife’s love of the land.

Brown left his Dent County farm to the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation (MCHF), which turned the land over to the Conservation Department to create Graham and Gerhild Brown Conservation Area (CA). Graham left instructions to sell his house and the surrounding 10 acres and use the proceeds to set up an endowment. Earnings from that endowment and a separate $130,000 trust fund he established now pay for managing the area, ensuring the Browns’ legacy.

Giving as a Community

Sixty miles to the west, Wright County residents had a dream, too. They wanted to ensure that some of Missouri’s most scenic land stayed that way. They envisioned a conservation area that would protect 391 acres—including the headwaters of Bryant Creek and the state’s second-highest point—from development.

The financial challenge was daunting, but the citizens’ group, led by David and Janice Reynolds of Springfield, attacked it with dogged determination. They held bake sales and took on everything else they could think of to raise the $140,000 needed to buy the land.

They found an unexpected ally in the MCHF. Not only did the Foundation’s nonprofit status provide tax breaks for contributors, but its involvement also demonstrated that the project was rock-solid. Seeing that the project had MCHF backing, the Johnny Morris Foundation stepped in with a $100,000 contribution.

It was a huge step toward the creation of Cedar Gap CA.

Giving as Tradition

A unique Christmas tradition is the legacy of Dr. Harry and Lina Berrier. Each December for the past 20 years, the couple has made donations out of profits from their successful Show-Me Barbecue Sauce business.

“The Berriers began donating in 1985,” said Grants and Donations Program Coordinator Kit Freudenberg. “They have made donations every year since then, sometimes twice a year, and have let the money accumulate. Their goal was always to build the fund large enough to do something really magnificent. They have reached that goal, and now they are considering a land purchase.”

The Berriers remained anonymous donors until recently, content with knowing their fund was growing through wise investment by MCHF. They

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