Friday, Nov. 15 is National Philanthropy Day. Each year, the RiverView Foundation recognizes this day and celebrates the spirit of philanthropy in our community, while bringing forward great stories of generosity, selflessness, and recognizing unsung heroes helping to make RiverView Health thrive. 

    This Philanthropy Day is especially exciting as RiverView Health is in the heart of its building project, RiverView 2020: Our Vision is Clear. It is RiverView Health’s hospital and clinic replacement project. Ground was broken for the $51 million project April 25, 2019, with completion planned in the Fall of 2020.

    To celebrate Philanthropy Day 2019, the RiverView Foundation will share three stories of transformational gifts given by caring individuals with the community’s best health at heart.

    “These people never forgot their roots and wanted to give back to their community,’’ stated Foundation Director Kent Bruun. “Together these are transformational, mission-changing gifts. They gave us momentum for our capital campaign.’’

    That capital campaign is the Foundation’s commitment to raise $2 million toward the project to support the non-denominational meditation room and the family-inclusive hospital Inpatient Unit with 18 universal patient rooms, three labor and delivery rooms, and four family suites.

Harry and Agnes Dale

    The first story is that of the Harry and Agnes Dale Estate Gift, the largest one-time gift in RiverView Health’s history.

    The Dale gift was given in 2015 as the RiverView Foundation began its 25th year of working on its goal to develop lasting relationships while facilitating donor’s philanthropic objectives.

    Harry and Agnes Dale were married in 1947, and lived on a farm east of Fertile. While a private couple, family members shared that one never made a decision without the other. Therefore, before Harry’s death, the two determined that charity would be a major recipient of their estate.

    “They never talked about themselves much,’’ shared a family member, “but they were together on everything.

    “She would tell me that Harry would let her do the chores when on the farm, as she had a way with each animal they had. They didn’t like the dogs or cats in the house, but they would inch their way inside when it was cold, and then they got to stay all the time. She was always kind of cute when she told me that, like she was giving away something that she wasn’t supposed to.’’

    Harry was a dedicated farmer who raised small grains, raised beef cattle and hogs. He was drafted into the Army at the end of World War II.

    He went on dialysis when his kidneys failed in 1999. Agnes provided his care until he entered the Fair Meadow Nursing Home in 2001. He passed away in 2003.

    Agnes (Moen) grew up in Fertile, graduating from Fertile High School in 1937. Following her schooling, she worked in Crookston for Ottertail Power as a receptionist and posting clerk prior to working in the Accounting Department. She played the piano and organ for services at Little Norway Lutheran Church for more than 25 years. Agnes died in 2015.

    According to a family member, “Agnes was a devoted Christian who expressed her faith through music, especially piano. She was also committed to her Biblical beliefs and lived them out in her life. Agnes valued good health care as it contributed to the well-being of God’s creation in mankind.’’

Designed for greatest patient benefit

    The Dale estate gift fits right in with the process of how the Foundation was established, Bruun shared. In 1990, the RiverView Health Board of Directors designated seed money from the estates of Maxine Daniels, Francis Drivold, Marion Houfec, Doris Morberg, Lillian Plante, and Edith Bolstad to establish the RiverView Foundation. The Board protected those investments by putting the funds in an endowment so the earnings could be used for running the operations of the Foundation. This has allowed donations to greatly impact patient care over the years.

    “I am humbled that RiverView was named as the Dale’s preferred charity and am genuinely thankful for their charitable hearts,’’ Bruun shared. “I am confident that through this donation, Agnes and Harry Dale’s legacy will continue to touch friends, family, and neighbors receiving exceptional care at RiverView Health.’’

    For more information on Philanthropy Day or the RiverView Foundation, contact Bruun at 218-281-9249 or by email at