The Upper Arlington Community Foundation (UACF) announced today that long-time Upper Arlington resident, Susan Knell, made a $1.2 million donation to the Foundation. Knell, who passed away in November 2019, was an active supporter of many UACF projects that furthered the organization’s mission to enhance life in the city through collaborative relationships that support worthy programs and initiatives.

The unrestricted gift, the largest in the Foundation’s history, will be used to support the organization to continue its work as a trusted, respected, well-established body that serves the community. The donations began in December 2019 with a $400,000 contribution and another $800,000 donation taking place earlier this year with additional funds expected from Knell’s estate in the coming months. The unrestricted nature of the bequest reveals the passion and faith Susan had in the group and those associated with the UACF. 

“I was introduced to Susan in 2015 by former UA City Council Member Mary Ann Krauss. It was through Mary Ann’s love of the Community Foundation that inspired Susan to become a donor,” said UACF Executive Director Tracy Kirby Harbold. “Susan said many times that she ‘did not want her money frittered away’. Our goal then and now is to continue to show the impact of her giving and inspire trust in the UACF, as we utilize donor dollars with care and efficiency to achieve the highest outcomes possible.”

Knell was also a strong advocate of the Upper Arlington Historical Society.

As former member of the Upper Arlington Historical Society’s board of trustees, Knell wholeheartedly embraced the Society’s mission to discover, preserve, and celebrate Upper Arlington’s history. In her estate, Knell entrusted the Upper Arlington Historical Society with memorabilia collected over her family’s 100+ years in the community – Upper Arlington-related photographs, maps, documents, etc., which will be preserved within their archives as the Susan Grace Knell Collection. Knell also left the Society a financial gift which ensures their ability fulfill her wishes to highlight and educate the public about Upper Arlington’s historical past.

“Susan recognized the Upper Arlington’s Society’s role as the chief stewards of our community’s history,” said Melanie Brown, Upper Arlington Historical Society executive director. “The stability of her gift has allowed us to focus on creating more historical educational programs for all ages, to preserve and share our archival collection, and promote historic preservation.”

About the Upper Arlington Community Foundation

The UACF is honored to serve as a force for good in partnership with valued stakeholders throughout our community. From the beautification of parks to supporting the arts and neighbors and businesses in need, the Foundation makes widespread, lasting impact.  Led by our passionate board of community leaders, we believe that together we can discover new ways to inspire, engage and create. Learn more about the Upper Arlington Community Foundation at

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