Estelle J. Kelsey Foundation

Our Foundation’s Mission

The foundation is organized and operated exclusively for the educational, religious and charitable purposes with the United States of America.

The Estelle J. Kelsey Foundation was established in the state of Nevada in 2014. It was organized and is operated to make grants primarily to strengthen the existing programs and projects of civic and cultural, social services, medicine and science, as well as religious and your facilities and programs.

Grants are limited to purposes within the United States of America, however, it leans toward serving the needs of Northern Nevada. Any organizations who apply must hold a determination letter form the Internal Revenue Service stating that the organization is qualified under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code, or other identification to establish eligibility to receive charitable contributions.

  • Educational Programs

    Helping establish programs for learning and furthering development in education for youth and adults alike.

  • Civil & Cultural

    Through project-based funding, we support projects that integrate artsculture, and design … and/or amplifying community identity.

  • Medicine & Science

    We donate to research, technical, medical, scientific, and plenty of other kinds of causes.

  • Religion & Social Services

    Grant support for churches and assistance for social services and various other reasons.


Donald A. Bernard Sr.

Founding Chairman

Carolyn K. Bernard

Vice Chairman

Donald Bernard II


Estelle J. Kelsey's Story

Estelle was born in Detroit, Michigan on January 1, 1913 to Nichols and Dorothy Nichols. She married Albert Jamieson who passed on August 29th, 1959. They had a beautiful daughter, Marianne J. Kerr. Marianne was tragically killed in an automobile accident on January 9th, 1982 at the age of 41.

On January 5th, 1967 Estelle married her long time boss and wonderful man, Clinton W. Kelsey, who went by the name of Don. Following retirement, they came west and divided their time between Hawaii, Palm Springs, California, and Reno, Nevada. Mr. Kelsey passed away on January 11, 1982.

Estelle traveled the world and collected artifacts from each country she visited. She was very active, intelligent, conscientious, caring individual who took full charge of her life until her death on April 13, 2013 at the age of 100 years old.

She wanted the ESTELLE J. KELSEY FOUNDATION to be created and funded upon her death to help those in need to a better life. She had a special place in her heart for children in need. Her hope was to help them grow, learn and fulfill their dreams and aspirations.



  • Chairman, Bernard Holdings and Capital Group: Multi-million dollar real estate and securities holding company
  • Chairman, Estelle J. Kelsey Foundation: Multi-million dollar charitable foundation
  • Trustee, Renown Regional Medical Health Foundation of Nevada
  • Named by Nevada Governor to special task force to study tax structure of Nevada, and report to legislature
  • Elected to Board of Directors of San Francisco, California based Birr Wilson & Co Inc. At that time the only Nevada resident in the state’s history to serve on the Board of member firm of New York Stock Exchange
  • Named by board of Governors of Nevada State Bar Association to serve as the state’s only lay member on the Nevada State Bar Fee Dispute Committee
  • Named by Governor to multiple use committee on federal lands. Committee is in charge of all Federal Lands in Nevada
  • Named by President Ronald Reagan to the Nevada Selective Service Commission
  • Named Vice Chairman of the Board and Chairman of the Executive Committee of Pioneer Bank of Nevada A State wide National bank.
  • Named managing director of Kemper Securities, Everen Securities, and First Union Securities. All are national investment firms.
  • Named director of ESM Solutions. A Pennsylvania based e-commerce company.
  • Long time speaker, lecturer, panel member, and source for magazine and newspaper interviews.



    Grants may be made to organizations operated exclusively for charitable, educational, scientific or literary purposes. Those organizations must qualify under the Internal Revenue Service Section 501(c)3.

    We do not make grants to individuals, to capital campaigns, to political campaigns, or to individual politicians.

    The trustees may initiate special or major grants.


    If your project is eligible and is a fit for funding priorities, please contact the foundation. You will be sent a Grant Application Form. Often, a letter of inquiry is requested prior to a full application submission.


    Follow the procedures for submission of an application from the grant request form. This form consists of instructions on checklist of required documents, and the foundation’s expectation of requirements with respect to the application. When completed, submit application with 3 copies to:

    Estelle J. Kelsey Foundation
    5008 E. Lakeridge Terrace
    Reno, NV 89509

    Your application must be submitted by the end of the month to be reviewed within the next 2 months. Please note, it can take up to 3 months for the trustees to address the necessary due diligence (which may include but not be limited to a site visit) before you are notified.


    You will be notified if and when your application has been acted upon by the Board of Trustees. Please note that the Foundation typically provides no more than two or three years of consecutive funding to its grantees.

Get In Touch!

We are looking forward to helping you. Please send a request to our address. We will be back with you shortly.


5008 Lakeridge Terrace East
Reno,  NV 89509