Paul and Marjorie Anderson | South Dakota Community Foundation

Paul and Marjorie Anderson

Paul and Marjorie Anderson sitting at their table

Paul and Marjorie Anderson never looked for accolades as they invested time, funds and energy into their community, but their long-term impact on Jones County, South Dakota is undeniably deep and impactful. “They were both community people who always had the community at heart,” says Jim Butt, board chairperson of the First Fidelity Bank Jones County Community Foundation.

The Andersons were one of the first families to donate to Jones County’s Community Savings Account, which was started in 1995 through the South Dakota Community Foundation. The board of the Jones County Community Foundation is currently working on a $100,000 challenge with the South Dakota Community Foundation. If Jones County raises $80,000, SDCF will match an additional $20,000 through an endowment established by the John and Tom Lillibridge families specifically for community savings accounts where their family-owned banks had a presence.

“It’s a unique opportunity and we hope to meet that challenge” says Brian O’Reilly, who has also been a board member since its inception.

Jim says he is continually inspired by the Anderson family, a legacy that lives on today through their children, including their son Walt. “Walt along with his brother Jim and sister Linda Nill continue to give back to the community in ways that allow others to reap the benefits,” he says.

Their father Paul served on the school board, was a volunteer firefighter for 50 years and was an active member of the Lions Club. Their mother, Marjorie, was also involved in the community alongside her husband and served as the Jones County Clerk of Courts for almost two decades. His parents were representative of the “Greatest Generation”—they worked hard, saved and gave back. “Today we would count ourselves lucky to be mentored by parents like them,” Walt says.

The Anderson family gave $5,000 when the Foundation was first started and then gave another $15,000 several years later to help fund the Jones County Senior Services and honor their long-time “Good Neighbors” neighbors Bob and Ellen Totton.

Paul passed away in 2009. Marjorie, now 101 years old, is cared for at the Philip, South Dakota Nursing Home. Despite not living in Murdo any longer, their children continue to invest in their childhood community because of the example of their parents. “We’re all in it because we care,” Walt says. “Our parents had a wonderful life in Murdo and they cultivated a lot of good friends. They were humble people and willing to do whatever they could for others. They were role models and we’d like to pass that on and keep it going.”

The family still owns a small farmhouse in the Murdo area that is used as a hunting lodge. From Rapid City, Walt provides support and encouragement to the Jones County Community Foundation. “It makes you feel good,” he says. “Through this Foundation, you know entire communities are benefitting.”

Brian says it’s in that spirit that the current board members decided to step up to the plate and create a board challenge to help push them closer to the $80,000 goal. “It’s hard to ask people to donate money if we’re not willing to do the same.”

The local Foundation Board members have personally pledged a total of $17,000 and they hope it will inspire others to give generously. Jim is also hopeful the community will now step forward to help complete the Foundation challenge.

I do hope folks with ability to give—and the people who care about the future of the community—will give whatever they can. When we were growing up, we had a previous generation that had made sure we had a good place to live. We want to make sure the next generation has the same thing.

Jim Butt