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$250,000 Arnold Trust transferred to Greater Menomonee Falls Foundation

The Greater Menomonee Falls Foundation (GMFF) just received its largest donation ever courtesy of the Milton and Elsie Arnold Trust.  Discussions about merging the Arnold Trust with GMFF started in 2015, when Attorney Jack Patrick reached out to board members. Through the years many of the Arnold Trust grant recipients matched with GMFF’s grant recipients.  Seeing the alignment with the Arnold’s wishes, the $250,000 trust was transferred to GMFF in 2016.

“The Arnold Trust coming over to GMFF really helps grow our Foundation and build our endowment,” GMFF Board President Kevin Wolf shared. “This means so much to GMFF, as we are approaching our goal of $1 Million in our endowment. Once we reach our goal, we will be able to expand our resources and begin to consider larger contributions to the community.”

Surprising Basement Find Established the Arnold Trust

Born in 1903 in Manitowoc County, Milton A. Arnold moved to Menomonee Falls when he was a child. He worked for the Milwaukee Transport Company, an electric streetcar that operated in the city of Milwaukee. In 1946 he married Elsie Meider. She worked as a homemaker in their home on Appleton Avenue.

When Milton passed away in 1982, Elsie had a surprising find waiting for her in their basement: 400,000 Wisconsin Electric Bonds.

With the help of local attorneys, Michael Hurt and Jack Patrick, she agreed to establish the Milton and Elsie Arnold Community Trust in 1987. One of the trustees, Robyn Turtenwald, also a Greater Menomonee Falls Foundation Board Member, worked with Michael Hurt at the time when the trust was started.

Board members of the Arnold Trust present GMFF Board President with a check

Board members of the Arnold Trust: Dan Hart, Robyn

Turtenwald, and Dick Becker present GMFF Board President, Kevin Wolf with a check, commemorating the transfer of the Arnold Trust.

Robyn shared, “The Arnolds were very humble people who stayed to themselves.  When Milton passed away, Elsie definitely saw the value in giving back to Menomonee Falls. She felt it was a good place for their money.”

The community really rallied around Elsie after Milton passed away. Robyn recalls they helped her get her driver’s license, assisted with home repairs, including installing an air conditioning unit. A few years later, the Turtenwalds even helped Elsie move to Menomonee Place. Though she passed away in 1990, Elsie and Milton’s legacy continues to live on through their trust.

Each year the Arnold Trustees would meet to review how to award grants using the interest accrued on the fund. Though the average total amount of grants awarded each year was around $10,000, the trust was not widely known or promoted.

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