One man’s belief in small towns inspires many

One man’s belief in small towns inspires many

The phrase “leaving a legacy” is used a lot. In the case of Lloyd Paulson of Moorhead, who died May 27, it aptly describes his contributions to helping rural communities thrive for generations to come. 

You can see the legacy of this giving throughout west central Minnesota and beyond. In Deer Creek, pop. 322, it’s the beautifully renovated municipal ballpark that draws teams from all over the area. In Parkers Prairie, pop. 1,011, it’s the impressive aquatic center, with its easily accessible zero-entry pool, fountains and solar panels for heating. And in Battle Lake, it’s the construction of a brand-new child care center to open this fall.

What’s amazing about this legacy isn’t necessarily the money he donated to these projects, but the encouragement he gave and challenges he issued to provide matches to his gifts. “If people give back to their hometowns, they are going to benefit from that themselves,” Lloyd said of the importance of local giving. “Unless the people who live there step forward, the community’s not going to grow.” 

“Uncle Lloyd was the first person I talked with when I had the idea of restoring our baseball park,” recalled Deer Creek resident and Lloyd’s niece, Diane George. She also serves on the advisory committee for the Deer Creek Ballpark Restoration Fund, a component fund of WCI. “I didn’t have a clue where to start and he headed me in the right direction. He believed in me and what I could accomplish and he made me believe in myself. He was an awesome business man but a better uncle. He never gave anything out for free but made you work for it. He will be deeply missed as an uncle that I truly loved and admired.” 

“ ‘I’ve been blessed’ is something Lloyd would say. God had blessed him and he felt that he needed to share that good will with the people and communities that he knew and loved,” said Jim Arvidson, a Parkers Prairie resident who worked with Lloyd and with WCI as an advisor on the Parkers Prairie Public Swimming Pool Fund, also a WCI component fund.

“Lloyd became a mentor to us as we began our roles as co-chairs of the Battle Lake Area Child Center capital campaign,” Gary and Karalyn Harrington shared. “He was so generous with his time and knowledge around fundraising. We could see that he truly enjoyed helping us accomplish a project that would benefit our rural area and make him proud to have helped.”
Inspired by Lloyd Paulson’s local philanthropy? WCI  can help you achieve your charitable giving wishes through  a donor advised fund.

Learn more by contacting Tom McSparron or Rebecca Petersen at 800-735-2239. WCI encourages people to consult their financial advisor first.

Watch our two videos on community giving featuring Lloyd Paulson:

The Impact of Local Giving in Rural Communities

The Impact of Local Giving in Rural Communities, Part 2, featuring Parkers Prairie