Foundation History

Beim Foundation History

Above: Nels C. Beim

The Beim Foundation was established in Minneapolis, Minnesota, by Nels C. Beim in 1947. Nels, a Norwegian immigrant at age 12, came from a small farm north of Bergen in Hafslo, Norway. With his mother and younger brother, he settled in St. James, Minnesota, to work in the mercantile store owned by his uncles. He followed two brothers to the West coast to work in the business office for a whale oil firm near Seattle. At the time, whale oil was an important component for incandescent lighting of street lamps. As times changed, Nels returned to Minnesota to work for an oil company, eventually becoming its President.

Work was Nels’ passion, pleasure and pride. As his business efforts continued to be successful, he became interested in giving away his assets to his family as well as to his community. He served as a trustee of the Midland Bank in Minneapolis, known as the “Norwegian Bank.” Nels developed the vision for the Beim Foundation, instructing his sons to handle the day to day operations. The Foundation supported philanthropic interests such as colleges, arts, and social service organizations as well as local hospitals and churches. Grants were made primarily to organizations in Minnesota.

Today, the Beim Foundation is governed by the grandchildren and great grandchildren of Nels Beim. The legacy of the founder continues as the Foundation supports arts, human services, education and environmental programs. These programs are located within the state of Minnesota where Nels worked and lived as well as within selected communities outside Minnesota.

To honor the legacy of Nels Beim, the Foundation supports the following

  • Investing in innovation
  • Providing opportunity for those in need
  • Creating healthy communities through compassionate action
  • Fostering personal and spiritual growth through giving