JCF announces new fund

The Juneau Community Foundation (JCF) and the Brady family of Skagway recently announced an agreement to establish the Margaret Frans Brady Fund (MFB).


Margaret Frans Brady was a life-long arts and education advocate who supported charities in North Carolina as well as Alaska, where her son started a newspaper in Skagway 35 years ago. Brady died in January 2010, and her son, William J. “Jeff” Brady, expressed a desire to see her memory honored and good works to carried on in the community she loved.

Born on July 31, 1926 in Hickory, NC., Brady was the second child of Lee P. and Wilhelmina Frans. They moved to Hickory from Winston-Salem with their oldest daughter Mary Elizabeth in 1925, when Mr. Frans purchased an Orange Crush bottling plant. In 1936, he added a Pepsi-Cola franchise, working the area with just three trucks. A third daughter, Kathryn Jean was born in 1929. During the Great Depression, the family, like many, learned how to live within their means, but were known to frequently assist those less fortunate. Fortunately their business survived the lean times and grew into one of Hickory’s most successful family-owned enterprises, which now is spread across 18 western NC counties.

Brady was known to be a smart and versatile student in school. She played basketball and participated in various clubs while achieving top grades. She was valedictorian of her high school class of 1943. At the time, children in NC could receive 11 years of primary and secondary schooling, and Brady’s graduation address heralded the need for a 12th year of preparation, which was added within a few years. From there, she went on to Duke University, earning a degree in English in 1947. She was a member of Pi Beta Phi and the Duke Players, and worked for Archive, the student magazine.

After graduation, she returned to Hickory, waiting for her high school sweetheart, William P. “Bird” Brady, to return from U.S. Navy service in the Pacific. They wed Dec. 29, 1948. He finished his undergraduate degree at Lenoir-Rhyne College in 1950 and the couple moved to Chapel Hill, where he attended graduate school at UNC. In 1952, after receiving his masters, he took a job as a high school civics and physical education teacher and coach. He then joined the family business and the couple worked out of a satellite bottling plant in Spruce Pine, where they lived until Margaret became pregnant with her first child, William Jeffery, in 1956, followed by two more children, Colin Frans in 1958 and Jean Elizabeth in 1962.

The Bradys were active in their community. An education advocate all her life, Margaret saw a need for a college preparatory school in the late 1960s and became a founding board member of North State Academy. She also tutored several area kids with dyslexia in reading. After her husband died of cancer at age 46, she continued her focus on raising their children, seeing them graduate and go on to college. She encouraged them to be independent and supported their pursuits in drama productions, the creative arts, design, and even the dream of her oldest son Jeff, who started a newspaper in Skagway in 1978.

Margaret traveled to Skagway frequently to her son and grandchildren until her health declined. After her death in January 2010, the Brady family decided to donate a portion of the proceeds from her estate to support arts and education needs in their community. The Margaret Frans Brady Fund was established in January 2012. Jeff Brady will advise JCF on requests for funds, with assistance from his wife Dorothy and other family members.

The MFB Fund is to be set up as a donor-advised fund so it may assist worthy arts and education projects or scholarships in Skagway and northern Southeast Alaska.

“A donor-advised fund through the Juneau Community Foundation was the best fit for what we wanted to do,” said Jeff Brady.

The MFB Fund has been established specifically to provide significant funds for both current needs and future projects. The fund will be used to support:

• projects that enhance the arts in the Skagway community, including, but not limited to: arts facilities, libraries, symposiums, marketing programs, and website development.

• arts education in the school and community, including music education and programs that teach other creative arts.

• scholarships to attend arts camps, schools, symposiums.

• arts councils and other non-profits that support the arts with programs and facilities.

• other youth education programs or activities that the donors deem worthy of funding.

JCF is accepting donations to the Margaret Frans Brady Fund from individuals, organizations, and businesses wishing to further support these goals.

Applications for the MFB Fund will appear on the JCF website, www.juneaucf.org, on March 1. The deadlines for applications and where to submit them will also be available on the website.

The mission of the Juneau Community Foundation is to promote philanthropy and effectively respond to the needs of our communities. In the six years since its inception it has awarded over $550,000 in grants. For more information, contact Executive Director Amy Skilbred at amy@juneaucf.org or (907) 523-5450.


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