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Brainerd couple donates $500,000 to Fargo-based at-risk and homeless young adult housing project

FARGO - A housing project for at-risk and homeless young adults here is closer to completion following a big donation from a Minnesota couple. David and Jan McNair of Brainerd, Minn., donated $500,000 to Fargo-based Fraser Ltd. - money the nonpro...

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Jan and David McNair donated $500,000 to Fargo-based Fraser Ltd. The money will go toward a supportive housing project that will serve at-risk young adults. Special to The Forum

FARGO – A housing project for at-risk and homeless young adults here is closer to completion following a big donation from a Minnesota couple.

David and Jan McNair of Brainerd, Minn., donated $500,000 to Fargo-based Fraser Ltd. – money the nonprofit company desperately needed for a supportive housing project.

“It was a very welcome surprise,” said Sandra Leyland, Fraser’s executive director.

She said the company has received large donations like this in the past, but they are not common.

Leyland said Fraser still needs more than $1 million to fully fund the housing project, but the $500,000 donation made a big dent.

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To help cover the rest of the cost, Fraser started a challenge and wants the Fargo-Moorhead community to match the McNairs’ donation.
Roots in Fargo

David McNair lived in Fargo for 63 years and said the city was good to his family so they wanted to give back.

“It was this summer when we contacted them and said we’d like to do this and were very impressed with that project,” David said.

Jan McNair said this was the single largest donation they’ve made.

“We feel like we want to make an impact in the city our kids were raised in and that we lived in for many, many years,” she added.

Leyland hopes the community will rally around the large donation. Fraser won’t continue the housing project until they reach their full funding goal.

The McNairs have made donations to Fraser and other area charities and nonprofits in the past but not this significant of an amount.

Each year, David, Jan and their six adult children choose nonprofits to donate to, using money from a trust fund. Half of their annual donations go to Fargo, they said.

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David and Jan McNair said this donation to Fraser was separate from their normal donations to organizations in the area.
Housing complex

The housing complex opened in May and has nine single dormitory-style units. When the project is complete, there will be 21 single units and four family units, Leyland said.

The complex is located at 711 S. University Drive in Fargo, and it offers disadvantaged, at-risk young adults subsidized housing while they transition into adult life.

Area nonprofits have struggled to keep up with the growing homeless population in Fargo-Moorhead.

One of the major issues plaguing shelters and transitional housing providers has been funding and adequate space in existing facilities.

The McNairs said the focus of most of their donations has been food and shelter. They toured Fraser’s complex and decided it was a project they wanted to support.

“We just felt this project tugged at our hearts,” Jan said. “We were looking for a place to help, and this seemed to fit.”

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By Josh Francis.

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