Edwin E. Bryant was one of three original founders of Nelson Muffler Corporation, a Wisconsin corporation formed in February of 1939. Mr. Bryant served as Nelson’s President from 1956 to his death in May of 1972. At the time of his death Edwin E. Bryant was married to Janet L. Bryant. During Edwin Bryant’s lifetime, he expressed a sincere desire to support a wide variety of charitable organizations. Janet Bryant was very involved with, and extremely supportive of, her husband’s penchant for charitable giving. They strove to foster an environment that promoted a spirit of volunteering and sharing. Together, they worked long and hard to share their time, experiences, talents and assets.
In the years following her husband’s death, Janet Bryant continued with the same generous and philanthropic spirit that she and Ed had shared during their married years. Janet expressed a sincere interest in creating a charitable foundation that could, at some appropriate time in the future, continue to make charitable contributions to selected organizations both during and after her lifetime. Janet wanted to leave a lasting legacy honoring Edwin E. Bryant and all that he represented. In December of 1993, Janet’s interest in creating this lasting legacy culminated with the creation of the BGB Foundation, Inc. BGB Foundation, Inc. was the predecessor organization to the Edwin E. and Janet L. Bryant Foundation, Inc.
David W. Bjerke, Jerry A. Gryttenholm and June C. Bunting were appointed Trustees of the newly created foundation. As a start up gift, Janet Bryant gave BGB Foundation, Inc. $1,000.00. Shortly thereafter, Janet gifted the Foundation with shares of Nelson Industries, Inc. common stock. Janet expressed her sincere interest in focusing charitable contributions toward a selected geographical area which emphasized gifting to: Stoughton, Dane County and Wisconsin. During this time, it was Janet Bryant’s preference that BGB Foundation, Inc. remain as anonymous as possible while still complying with legal requirements associated with operating a charitable foundation. BGB Foundation, Inc. remained relatively inactive until December of 1998. Annual anonymous contributions were made by the Foundation’s trustees. Shares of Nelson stock were sold, as necessary, to raise the capital required to make the mandatory annual contributions. Janet continued, in her modest and unassuming style, to fund BGB Foundation with gifts and contributions during this time.
Several things happened during 1998 that had a significant impact upon the Foundation. On January 8, 1998, Nelson Industries, Inc. was sold to Cummins Engine Co. With the sale of all Nelson shares, Janet’s assets became much more liquid and she chose to more fully fund the charitable Foundation she initiated in 1993. The name of the Foundation was changed from BGB Foundation, Inc. to The Edwin E.& Janet L. Bryant Foundation to more accurately reflect the Foundation’s benefactors. Rockne G. Flowers, President of Nelson Industries, Inc. agreed to accept the position of President and Trustee of the Edwin E.& Janet L. Bryant Foundation, Inc. Foundation officerships were filled as follows: Janet L. Bryant: Honorary Chairman, Rockne G. Flowers: President, David W. Bjerke: Vice President, June C. Bunting: Secretary and Jerry A. Gryttenholm: Treasurer.
Janet Bryant passed away in November 2010 but her generosity and love for her community continues. The Edwin E. and Janet L. Bryant Foundation, Inc. is intended to be a resource for Stoughton, Dane County and Wisconsin from two of Stoughton’s most distinguished and generous citizens.
For more information about the Bryant Foundation, please visit our website.