Gordon Elwood Foundation


Gordon Elwood, a lifelong native of the Rogue Valley, lived a remarkably Spartan existence. Beginning as a paper delivery boy at the age of twelve, Gordon scrimped and saved and invested the bulk of his earnings through years of labor as a fruit picker in the Valley and forty years as a television technician. After retiring, he continued his frugal lifestyle by collecting recyclable cans and bottles for their deposit value.

When he died at age seventy-nine in 1999, Gordon left a surprisingly large financial estate of $9 million to benefit his beloved southern Oregon community. In his final days, Gordon expressed his philosophy thusly:

"Everyone is put on this earth to accomplish something, and not just for their own self. Through this foundation I feel I have made my life worthwhile to others."

By the close of 1999, John Harmon, John Duke, Daniel Kosmatka, Jan Murphy, Stephanie Johnson, Burke Raymond and Mike Heverly had been appointed to create Gordon’s legacy.

The Gordon Elwood Foundation is committed to fulfilling Gordon's legacy by offering a hand up to those in need. We are pleased to honor his memory in service to the southern Oregon community.

Group Meeting

"While we could bring our ideas and opinions to the table, we learned that they were not valid in philanthropy. They were valid in the business world, but not here. Making money is one thing, giving it away another. So we embarked on a process of learning."

John Harmon
Trustee Emeritus,
Gordon Elwood Foundation
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