VCCF Receives Baker Gift
December 13, 2017
Maybe it was an incident in the beginning weeks of first grade in Glasgow that sparked a lifelong love of learning and curiosity that led Don Baker to professional success. It is with his generous gift of $139,145 to the Valley County Community Foundation following his death in 2016 that memorializes his dedication to this community.
As an architect in Minneapolis, his work took him all over the country but his heart remained here as a proud Scottie, class of 1960. He rarely, if ever, missed a class reunion, whether it was his class, or classes ahead or behind, he took the time to renew friendships.
At a class of 1961 gathering, he told of the day his mother, Jean Baker, received an early-morning call from his first grade teacher. Don hadn’t arrived and she hoped he wasn’t ill. “He left the house in plenty of time,” Baker says his mother replied and she set out to find him. Walking the short distance to Glasgow school, now the site of Alumni Park, he was nowhere to be found. She retraced her steps home, continuing to call his name. There, she found him playing in the backyard and asked why he wasn’t in school.
“I’ve pretty much learned everything they have to teach and I think I’ll just stay here,” he said.
She assured him there was much more to learn and encouraged him to give it another try. He said, “Okay, but just for today,” and they set off for the school. Don never looked back, continuing through a degree from Montana State University and a career he dearly loved.
“His bequest to the VCCF, along with many other organizations in Valley County, showed his keen understanding of what builds and sustains the fabric of life here,” said Doris Leader, who chairs the VCCF.
His gift has been invested in the general endowment. As it grows, the earnings will come back to the community. Through the annual grant program, earnings from Baker’s gift will support and enhance the work of nonprofit organizations in all parts of Valley County.
Since awarding its first grants in 2000, local projects have received $178,234, under broad categories such as education, youth programs, senior needs and programs, and building improvements.
In addition to providing funding for needed projects, VCCF is the steward of two scholarship endowments, which have provided $38,050 to graduates of Valley County high schools working toward advanced education.
Leader encourages a look at the VCCF website, http://www.valleycountycf.net,for complete information on giving to the Foundation, along with its granting and scholarship programs.