George and Nelle Mingle Memorial Fund

in Our Storybook
posted by: Brittany Malon

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We've all heard the phrase "pay it forward." The philosophy behind this simple phrase is that acts of kindness, no matter how small, when strung together and multiplied by millions of people can literally change the world for the better. George Mingle and his wife, Nelle, were shining examples of this philosophy. George was involved in his community. He was deeply involved in his church, was enlisted in the Navy Reserves, was an active member of the Masonic Lodge and the Shrine Club, and was involved in neighborhood watch and rural youth development. He fed the ducks at Falls Park and visited with friends to talk about their gardens.

He had plenty of ways to fill his time after his wife, Nelle, passed away, but George always, always thought of her. The Mingles had been married for 50 years.

About six months after Nelle's death, George placed a memorial ad in the Times-Post. Beneath her picture, he wrote “Your first birthday in Heaven! You left us an example to live by. We are happy for you, Nelle!” George also talked to friends who were involved with the South Madison Community Foundation about ways to make gifts to the community in Nelle’s memory. Shortly after, George opened the George and Nelle Mingle Memorial Fund with a gift of $5000.

Every year, the agreement between George and South Madison Community Foundation allowed George to recommend gifts, and he would choose something that he knew Nelle would like. It helped him keep her memory with him and to help him live by her example.

For the next three years, George made "birthday gifts" with Nelle in mind- first, new library books, then a scholarship, and support for the fire department and FFA. He also made deposits to the fund so the gifts would be larger and would be able to last forever.

Unfortunately, George fell ill and was unable to direct additional gifts before his death in 2011. Because the Mingle Fund is a named Bright Future Fund, now the Foundation recommends gifts from the Mingle Fund and it’s our job to select the grants made in their memory.

The legacy that the Mingle's left behind through the creation of their named Bright Future Fund is now in its 15th year of paying it forward. We could all stand to learn from the example of generosity, spirit of kindness, and passion that George and Nelle Mingle shared to leave this world a better place than when they found it.

Think about the gifts you have received from the people who have paved the way for you in your life, in your country, in your community.
How will you choose to "pay it forward" for those who follow you?