Community Foundations


A profound and perpetual impact:
The endowment of Louis Gundelfinger

He came to the bare, hot desert plain that was Fresno in 1878. Fueled by success as a pioneer businessman in one of the town's first grocery and department stores, Louis Gundelfinger helped form the Bank of Central Valley and served as president for a newly created Chamber of Commerce. He cultivated generosity and leadership across the community, as an organizer of the Fresno Traffic Association, which helped to bring the Sante Fe Railroad to the Central Valley, and as a Roeding Park commissioner and director of the Fresno Art Association. With a passion for horseback riding, fine music and opera, Mr. Gundelfinger generated cultural enhancement by establishing parks and community music events.

Louis Gundelfinger was a profound thinker, an idealist and a visionary philanthropist whose impact begun years ago can still be felt throughout our Valley today. Among the many moments of historical significance is the establishment of an FRF endowed fund by daughter-in-law Lulu Staburn Gundelfinger that would carry on the ideals of community activism and philanthropy in his memory. With the principal of the gift preserved, the earned interest and dividends provide continued support for the parks and music endeavors that are a hallmark of this Fresno icon.

Since 1991, the Gundelfinger endowment has nearly doubled, growing from $1 million to $1.8 million. Among the numerous park projects and music organizations funded by a total $832,000 granted since 1996:

        Central California Children's Choir
        Rotary Amphitheatre
        River Parkway Little League
        San Joaquin River Parkway Trust
        Shinzen Friendship Garden
        Sierra Chamber Opera
        Youth Orchestras of Fresno