Leveraging Their Legacy

Keith and Cathy Peltier are the first benefactors to document an In Our Hands Legacy Challenge gift.

By Nicole Thom-Arens | March 11, 2021

Keith and Kathy Peltier at an outdoor event

For Keith ’75 and Cathy ’77 Peltier, establishing a planned gift with the North Dakota State University Foundation was the natural next step in their philanthropic giving. Cathy’s mom graduated from NDSU; Keith’s NDSU lineage goes back to his great-grandmother, Jessamine Burgum, who was the first female student at NDSU (then North Dakota Agricultural College); and all three of the Peltier children are also NDSU graduates.

After decades of giving back in the form of scholarships, facility projects, and program support, Keith and Cathy were the first benefactors to take advantage of matching funds available through the In Our Hands Legacy Challenge when they documented their planned gift last summer.

“The match and that we were able to leverage some more money for the Agricultural Products Development Center inspired us,” Keith said. “We had set aside for NDSU (in our estate plan) but never told anybody about it, so we thought the timing was good to execute a place for that to go.”

Thanks to matching funds made available by Sheila and Robert ’67 Challey through the In Our Hands Legacy Challenge, Keith and Cathy were able to immediately designate a percentage of their planned gift to the Agricultural Products Development Center, a project near and dear to Keith, who grew up in the agriculture business.

Originally from Arthur, North Dakota, Keith’s family was in the grain business and is one of the three families to have ownership in the Arthur Companies. After graduating from NDSU, he worked as a grain merchant in Illinois, Indiana, and Minnesota. In 1981, he and Cathy moved back to North Dakota where Keith managed the grain elevator, and in 1996, he got into the seed business and is the current president and general manager of Proseed.

“The APDC is a great showcase for our products,” Keith said, “and just like marketing, you want to put your best foot forward and a good facility brings a good impression.”
Cathy, a Mayville native, is passionate about North Dakota and understands the vital role agriculture plays in the state. Above all though, Cathy sees an investment in NDSU as an investment in a place and the state she loves.

“NDSU is a North Dakota institution, and I just happen to really love North Dakota, so it was a wise place to put the money,” Cathy said. “We’ve lived in three other states, but there is no place where you find the caliber of people that you find in North Dakota, in my opinion.”

Together, Keith and Cathy, made their first gift to NDSU in the mid-1980s. Despite being a young married couple raising three children, they prioritized philanthropy early.

“We have maintained the friendships we developed when we were at NDSU, and I think that’s very important. We have a strong NDSU comradery,” Cathy said about what first inspired the couple to give back.

When they moved to West Fargo almost 15 years ago, they became more personally involved with NDSU — Keith is a current NDSU Foundation trustee, Cathy has served on the Bison Arts Gala committee, and the two served on the Bison Bidders Bowl committee for six years, serving as co-chairs in 2014 and 2015. Throughout the years, their philanthropy has also increased. They are members of the Founders Society, and have long supported performing arts, the Joe Peltier Memorial Scholarship Endowment, Bison Bidders Bowl, the Roger Grooters Cross Country Endowment, and the Agricultural Products Development Center. Most recently, they are serving as campaign ambassadors for NDSU’s $400 million In Our Hands fundraising campaign.

“We try to support the whole gamut of stuff, especially scholarships because we had great learning opportunities,” Keith said. “We also try to support innovation in teaching to encourage methods of teaching that might inspire young kids.”

With such a rich NDSU history and decades of philanthropic and volunteer support, Keith and Cathy understood the value of documenting their estate plan now and providing the NDSU Foundation with specific information about the gift.

Most donors do not give just for tax credits or deductions; they give for the satisfaction of knowing they will make a difference in a way that is meaningful to them and impactful to the success of our students and university,” Curtis Cox, senior director of gift planning at the NDSU Foundation, said.

By notifying the NDSU Foundations, benefactors can work with planned giving experts to help maximize the benefit for both the benefactor and NDSU students.

“There are many ways and vehicles they can access through gift planning to benefit NDSU,” Curtis added. “Some can provide a life income and others may allow heirs to receive the maximum benefit of IRAs and 401ks bequeathed to them.”

Today, Keith and Cathy can celebrate their future gift because they know how philanthropy impacts the lives of NDSU students and faculty.

“Giving is fun,” Cathy said. “It’s fun to see somebody else’s life improve because maybe you helped a little bit to do that. If you give in other areas at NDSU, that department improves and if the department improves, then people, as a whole, improve because of that. You better people by giving.”