Dakota Datebook

Thomas and Frances Leach Foundation

Saturday, June 28, 2008

North Dakota philanthropist Frances Land Leach was born on this date, June 28, 1902. Frances, a teacher-turned-reporter for the St. Louis Times married Thomas Leach in 1925. Although the couple launched North Dakota’s oil industry, their life did not revolve entirely around oil exploration. In 1955 they established the Tom and Frances Leach Foundation “to provide charitable grants in support of worthwhile endeavors and to follow its mission of promoting public welfare.” In more than 50 years of existence, the Foundation has donated over $10 million dollars, making possible student scholarships at Bismarck State College, Minot State University and UND. It has also contributed to cultural and medical centers state-wide. Thomas Leach may have been the “Father of North Dakota Oil,” but it may prove that his and his wife’s work helping promote education and welfare was more important to the state of North Dakota.

Written by Lane Sunwall

Bismarck Tribune
The Tom and Frances Leach Foundation
Williston North Dakota Homepage

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Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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