Community Giving

Charlie and Salli Brown

Fund Name:: The Brown Family Legacy Fund
Fund Established: September 2021
Community Foundation(s): Central Minnesota

Charlie and Salli Brown were humble and simple individuals. They were modest and kind-hearted people, who worked hard and cared deeply about their neighbors and the community around them. Charlie operated the Sauk Centre Veterinary Clinic in partnership with a colleague, while Salli worked as a stay-at-home mom to their five children before she began teaching first grade at Holy Family School.

Daughters Loni Kohorst and Laurel Oberg describe their dad as down to earth. He worked long hours, nights and weekends helping others. “His favorite people in the whole world had to be farmers,” Laurel said. “He thought it was such a challenging thing to do. They worked the land and for the most part, he found them very approachable, humble and hard-working…no airs about them. That was our dad (too).”

Their mom, Salli, was one of the most welcoming and friendliest people you would have ever met. She was involved in everything from volunteering for the hospital auxiliary, to serving as a hospice volunteer. A farmer’s daughter, Salli enjoyed baking, gardening and bridge. She sang in the First Lutheran Church choir and spent three decades working as a volunteer with the Minnesota Literacy Foundation. She began teaching first grade at Holy Family School once her kids were older. “She loved teaching kids to read,” Laurel said.

Laurel and Loni said their parents always modeled a good, honest work ethic for them and they valued education, assuming early on that all five of their children would attend college, and all of them did. They were gracious.

Laurel remembers a terrible blizzard during her childhood where she came home to find people who had been stranded in the storm sitting around the kitchen table. Her mother had made a call and extended an overnight stay to those who were stranded.

“I think in small but generous ways she was very charitable and very generous with her time,” Laurel said. “She learned it from her mom, grandma was like that too.”

The Browns always quietly extended a hand to those down on their luck. Their father didn’t always charge the farmers he worked with if they were having a rough season. “He took care of people who needed it,” Laurel said.

Salli and Charlie worked hard but remained humble. As their legacy carries on, it illustrates that generosity is a humbling experience. That leaving a legacy is not about the recognition, but the ability to help others, modestly. The importance of a legacy is the act of generosity.

While Salli recently passed and Charlie in 1999, their children knew about their wishes to leave an unrestricted legacy gift to the Sauk Centre Area Community Foundation. Both Loni and Laurel shared that their parents valued the Minnesota education system and in Sauk Centre, they valued the community atmosphere and sense of belonging.

“They wanted to leave the community something that would last,” Loni said. “This was important to them.”

Now Loni said, the dollars gifted from her parents can go to those in need and programs that support the larger community for perpetuity. Loni and Laurel hope others considering a gift will take the time to reach out to the Foundation to understand just how their legacy dollars can help for the greater good.

“The idea of a Foundation, where it’s a gift that can keep on giving, it’s a really wonderful (thing),” Loni said. “It speaks to the future.”

The Brown Family Legacy Fund is the first legacy fund at the Sauk Centre Area Community Foundation. The Foundation is honored to carry on the legacy of Charlie and Salli Brown.