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Giving Away the Farm Donor Advised Fund

Giving Away the Farm Donor Advised Fund

Since retiring from their careers as funeral directors, Karen and Nelson Nussbaum of Ottawa have accelerated their philanthropy through a donor advised fund. Always generous donors throughout their lifetimes, Karen and Nelson chose to partner with the SRCCF to simplify and streamline their continued gifts to charitable organizations that matter most to them. By  creating the appropriately named ‘Giving Away the Farm’ fund, they have once again demonstrated their commitment and generosity to others, along with their sense of humor. Instead of waiting for their estates to award gifts, they are experiencing the joy of giving now through our donor-advised fund.

Charitable organizations benefit as recipients of grants made from the Fund and include the Illinois Valley Community College Foundation, Illinois State University’s agriculture program, Ottawa YMCA’s Partners in Youth program, Rotary International, St. Columba Catholic Church in Ottawa, Prairie Central FFA in Fairbury, Open Table Church in Ottawa, the PADS Shelter, the Women Inspired Network, Ottawa Opportunity School and many others.

Nelson was born and raised on a farm near Forrest in Livingston County. After high school, he served in Vietnam as a Seabee, the U.S. Navy’s construction battalion. After his service, he earned an agriculture degree from Illinois State University and later graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science. He and Karen owned Osborne-Nelson Funeral Home in Seneca, as well as Ottawa Funeral Home. Nelson is a former president of Ottawa’s Kiwanis Club and Camp Fire Board, as well as former treasurer for the Ottawa High School Booster Club and First Congregational Church. He and Karen are members of Ottawa Sunrise Rotary.

Kaen graduated from Marquette High School before studying at the Sorbonne in Paris. Like Nelson, she graduated from Worsham. In 1987, she and John Cooter purchased Ottawa Funeral Home from Karen’s father, Edward J. Walsh. When Cooter retired in 2007, the Nussbaum’s became sole owners of the home until their retirement in 2022. Karen served as president of Region Five of the Illinois Funeral Directors Association and was a board member at the state level. Nationally recognized as one of the first recipients of the David Baue Scholarship for women in the funeral profession, Karen was profiled and published in trade journals and certified by the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice. She is a former member of Zonta and the YMCA board. The Ottawa Business Professional Women’s Club’s 1995 Woman of the Year and is currently is serving on the IVCC Foundation board.

The Nussbaum’s have two children, JB (Katie) and Micki (Ken) along with six grandchildren.

Committed to you and your future.

Community foundations exist to meet the philanthropic needs of the community and the philanthropic desires of local donors. When we connect those two, wonderful things happen to enhance the quality of life for all of us.​

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