The money was left to her by her parents, Howard and Betty Bjelland, Linda Bjelland said, but she thought it should go back to Montrose.
“My view is really that it’s their money, money they earned and saved while they were in Montrose, and it seemed to me that some of it should go back,” Bjelland said in a phone interview.
Receiving $25,000 each are the Magic Circle Players, Bosom Buddies, the Montrose Library, and the Montrose Community Foundation.
Montrose Community Foundation Executive Director Melanie Hall said the foundation put half of its $25,000 into its endowed Forever Fund, money that receives interest and dividends and is then returned to the community in the form of grants.
“The other half will go into regular support of the community, including nonprofit workshops, our philanthropy program in the schools, our leaderships program, and general support of community issues,” she said.
The other organizations will use the money as they see fit, but Bjelland requested that the library use part of it to buy large print books, especially since her father suffered from macular degeneration in his later years.
“He could still read the Wall Street Journal, but when larger print books came out, he appreciated them,” Bjelland said.
Betty and Howard Bjelland, married for 65 years, met at the University of Northern Colorado and moved around while Howard was in the U.S. Army before he completed law school at the University of Illinois.
Her parents moved to Montrose when she was in kindergarten in 1946, Bjelland said, and she graduated from Montrose High School. The couple moved to Denver in about 1963 when Howard Bjelland was appointed to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, and lived there for 12 years. When deciding where to go next, there was only one answer from Betty Bjelland, her daughter said.
“She gave him an ultimatum for moving back to Montrose,” she said. “He had other opportunities, but she was pretty clear.”
Howard capitulated, and moved back to Montrose where he worked until his retirement for Colorado Ute Power.
The Bjellands were involved in many organizations and contributed generously to local causes, Hall said. Howard Bjelland was among the first contributors to help build Black Canyon Golf Course even though he took up the sport much later. And Betty was one of the first patrons of the Magic Circle Players, which is in its 52nd season at the Magic Circle Theater.
Linda Bjelland chose the Montrose Community Foundation because it helps many local nonprofits and local schools, and Bosom Buddies because both she and her mother were breast cancer survivors.
Hall said by donating to the Montrose Community Foundation many different organizations benefit.
“I hope someone else will say this is a good idea and give to the community,” she said.