Soft spoken and petite, Ellen Juul wasn’t a person who sought the limelight.
“But she was extremely well read. She was a little walking encyclopedia, so when anyone would talk to her they would just be amazed. No matter what the subject, she could chime in,” said M.A. Ogren, Ellen’s younger sister and only sibling.
Another of Ellen’s inconspicuous gifts was a generous heart. Though she passed away in April 2018, her spirit lives on in what she’s done for others, from her hometown to places around the globe.
“Ellen was a quiet person but by her life choices she was a strong advocate,” said Dorothy Desens, a fellow church member and friend. “You could just be around Ellen and know she had a core of goodness. She was a good person.”
“Ellen was a quiet person but by her life choices she was a strong advocate.” – Dorothy Desens
Born and raised in Hutchinson, Minnesota, Ellen attended St. Olaf College and became a nurse.
“One-on-one nursing with people who really needed her was her calling. When she became a personal health care worker, she cared for her patients from the bottom of her heart. She was just a caring, loving woman,” M.A. said, adding that Ellen took on caring for their parents as they aged.
A woman with a deep dedication to the Gospel, Ellen invested generously in her church, including the youth group, and supported mission work around the world.
“What motivated Ellen’s generosity and what has motivated my outlook toward giving is my dad,” M.A. said. “My dad was a living example of helping other people.” (Read more about Harold’s generosity in the callout “People Helping People.”)
Ellen also supported Southwest Initiative Foundation, investing in communities across southwest Minnesota as a Growing Home Circle member. She believed firmly in SWIF’s mission and was especially excited by Grow Our Own and closing the opportunity gap for kids living in poverty in southwest Minnesota. Ellen even made provisions to continue her support of SWIF in her estate plan.
“Empathy and compassion are the two defining qualities that come to mind as I remember Ellen. She cared deeply about everyone in need and gave from the heart to lighten their load,” said Diana Anderson, SWIF President and CEO. “Big donations often make headlines, and it’s exciting to celebrate them because they have an immediate impact. And, it’s equally important to celebrate the lasting impact of a quiet philanthropist like Ellen.”
Ellen happily invested her time, talent and treasure in the people and places she loved. Her legacy is a lifetime of small kindnesses carried out with conviction.
“We can all think of people who we know, and they don’t stand out as being particularly special. But when you get to know them, they are such wonderful gems that you can’t believe what you were missing by not knowing them,” M.A. said. “You would not look at Ellen and think of her having an influence in so many people’s lives that have been changed for the better because of her.”
You can support the causes you care about and leave a legacy like Ellen’s. For more information about the benefits of creating a will or trust, or to request our FREE planning guide, visit swifoundation.org/legacy.
People Helping People
The late Harold Juul of Hutchinson started the People Helping People Nursing Scholarship Fund in 2001, inspired by his wife, Edith, and daughter, Ellen, both nurses. Harold wanted to have a lasting impact on people’s lives in McLeod County and the surrounding area, so he established the fund as a resource to help local nursing assistants further their nursing education.
“He didn’t want it in his name. He just wanted it to be called People Helping People because that’s what he was all about: How can we help other people?” said Harold and Edith’s daughter M.A. Ogren.
Well before Southwest Initiative Foundation started Grow Our Own to help close the opportunity gap for kids living in poverty, Harold was investing in helping kids succeed: We know that for our kids to do well, their families must also. Research shows that creating access to good jobs is a critical dimension for supporting stable families.
Ellen Juul took an active role in making sure People Helping People, which is administered by SWIF, continued after her father’s death in 2004. Since the fund’s beginning, nearly $20,000 has been awarded in scholarships.
Before her passing, Ellen remarked, “Through my dad, and now through his legacy, we’re helping people in the area find a way to reach up — to do better in life.”
Pictured: Rui Raposo of Excelsior and Lacey Bentz of Lester Prairie are two recent People Helping People scholarship winners who received help to pursue nursing degrees at Ridgewater College.