"..it is my will that all of
my property, real,
personal and mixed,
where ever the same may
be situated shall go to
establish what shall be
known as the MYRA
shall be a permanent
institution hereby
established for
charitable, character
building, and educational

John E. Myra

Myra Foundation History
The Myra Foundation was established in 1941 and was the first private charitable foundation of its kind in the State of North Dakota. It was organized according to the terms of the Last Will and Testament of the late John E. Myra who died in 1939. In his will, Myra stated that the bulk of his estate would be used to establish the Myra Foundation. The Foundation was to be incorporated and administered by three trustees who would distribute the money for "charitable, character-building and educational purposes." Since its inception on April 28, 1941, it has awarded grants within Grand Forks County, ND, at $9,286,540.59.

John E Myra
Born in June 13, 1857 in Linden, Wisconsin, Myra came to North Dakota in 1883 at the age of 26 seeking fortune in the Dakota Territory. He first settled in Arvilla, North Dakota where he worked loading coal into rail cars. Shortly thereafter, he established a general merchandise store. He later moved to Emerado and started a successful farm machinery and lumber business, and began acquiring land and lending to farmers. Through acquisitions, defaults, and foreclosures, he became one of the largest landowners in the Red River Valley after the depression.

He married Emma Feisel in 1889. They had two children, a girl who died as an infant, and a son, John Everett, who died of diphtheria at the age of 3. Emma died in 1918 and Myra died in 1939 at the age of 82, leaving the bulk of his estate (less family bequests) worth an estimated $400,000 at the time of his death to establish the Myra Foundation.

The Foundation Today:
Today, the Foundation owns 5545 acres of farmland in Grand Forks County. It leases the land to local farmers and the income generated from the farming operations is distributed according to the terms of the Foundation's mission. The three trustees currently administering the Myra Foundation are Donna Gillig, Kent Cronquist, and John Botsford.