Dr. Bernard Daly was a doctor, banker, state senator, rancher, county judge, regent at what is now Oregon State University and businessman with more than a dozen companies — worth more than $1 million — at the time of his death in 1920.
His will read: “It is my earnest desire to help, aid and assist worthy and ambitious young men and women of my beloved county of Lake, to acquire a good education, so that they may be better fitted and qualified to appreciate and help to preserve the laws and constitution of this free country, defend its flag, and by their conduct as good citizens reflect honor on Lake county and the state of Oregon.”
With that he funneled much of his wealth to the creation of the Bernard Daly Educational Fund, which has now provided nearly 2,000 college educations. Daly Fund recipients have added millions of dollars back to the program and created new programs for county students. Sam Stern, the former Dean of the College of Education at Oregon State, reports “there is evidence that the Daly Fund has had considerable impact on the economy in Lakeview and beyond; health, community vitality, and philanthropy.”
It cannot go unnoticed that Lakeview, a town of 2,300 residents, has become a hub for renewable energy which includes a biomass facility and a geothermal power plant. Perhaps because Lake County is so isolated, few people outside of Central and Southern Oregon know much about it. Unlike what happened with the watershed moment of the announcement of The Kalamazoo Promise, the Daly Fund — which still does not have a website — did not spawn imitators. From a nearly 100-year view there is evidence that the Promise movement will work and the exciting thing here is that there are so many programs in attendance as well as others who are exploring.