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North Branch Schools

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July 6, 2022

6/17/2022 12:14:00 PM
Edelstein Foundation funding tops $1 million

Picture this time of year in 1909, as graduates from the North Branch High School  gathered for commencement of the first North Branch High School Class. The valedictorian could not have known that the typed text of his speech would be read and re-read over the following decades. Valedictorian Jacob Edelstein and his brother David and their sister Ruth, carved their place in North Branch history in establishing a pool of money that has now surpassed $1 million in scholarships awarded to North Branch grads.

That first valedictorian speech by Jacob (Jack) wisely stated that a well-educated person is one who knows where to find needed information.  

The learning that takes place in the years of regular school, he added in his speech,   is not the full extent of educating a citizen. “Actual practice makes the finished man,” he stated.

The Edelstein Family had the S.E. Edelstein Mercantile in downtown North Branch in the early 1900s.
The children of Samuel, Leah and then his second wife Ethel,  were Jacob, David and Ruth.  They planted the seed establishing the foundation in 1954.

In 2022 there are 35 recipients  of scholarships from  Edelstein Foundation funds, easily the largest group of scholarships of all North Branch’s donors.  

Innumerable Edelstein scholarships have also gone to various other venues.  Brandeis University recently recognized the Edelstein Foundation for $6 million in donations over 65-plus years of the university benefitting.

North Branch High School has been distributing Edelstein Foundation contributions since 1976. That first scholarship was $54, according to a Trustee with the Foundation offices in Edina.

North Branch High School performing arts auditorium honors the Edelsteins, being officially so designated in October 2002.  It was explained in a Chisago County Press story covering the auditorium naming,  that Ruth associated her love of acting with her days at the school.  Then-Superintendent  Dr. Stepaniak affirmed the community’s  “enduring legacy” to this family even 20 years ago.   

The actress who worked as “Ruth Easton” never had children.  She died March 16,1998.  The brothers likewise had no offspring.

Current Superintendent Sara Paul said about the scholarships and support that, “The dedication of the Edelstein Foundation to the success of students at North Branch Area Public Schools is profound...I can’t think of a more important legacy than helping students further their education.

“Each life touched through the generosity of the Edelstein Foundation has had a multiplier effect on this community and I am humbled and inspired by their generosity and impact.”

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