Community Foundation(s): Brainerd Lakes Area
Award: 2006 Award in Philanthropy from BLACF
Fran Holden was the first to admit she doesn’t like a lot of attention, particularly when it comes to philanthropy and how generous she and her husband, Clarence, were over the years. Yet her eyes lit up when she talked about the organizations and programs they chose to support. The Boy Scouts’ Camp Cuyuna, the building of a hospital in Haiti which was spearheaded by the Brainerd Rotary, the Brainerd YMCA, Central Lakes College, the Paul Bunyan trail, the Shriner’s Hospital, young children who need hearing aids and eye glasses. The list was almost endless.
Fran passed away Sept. 13, 2014 but when sharing her thoughts on philanthropy, she liked to refer to this biblical phrase, “But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:3)
She simply hoped that her and Clarence’s actions encouraged other people to be generous too.
Clarence and Fran were married almost 50 years when Clarence passed away in the fall of 2005. They were honored in 2006 with the Award in Philanthropy from the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation.
They met when they both worked at Mill’s Motor in Brainerd where Fran served as Henry Mill’s secretary. They enjoyed years of traveling, Twins baseball, biking trips and sharing with their community. Fran, who loved to have a full calendar of social activities, described Clarence as a “quiet man who was very humble and low-key.”
Fran believed, “We have been very fortunate to have this money and we should put it to good use.”