- Associated Press - Saturday, May 7, 2016

DALLAS CENTER, Iowa (AP) - A family trust worth about $7 million will go this year to organizations in and around Dallas center, a Des Moines suburb of about 1,600 people.

The 30-year Burnett Charitable Trust has paid dividends over the last three decades, the Des Moines Register reported (http://dmreg.co/24AR1ZT ) Saturday. Last year’s payouts totaled to $258,000. The money is invested in farmland and stocks and is now worth about $7 million, fund trustee John Thomas said. When the trust expires in November, the community groups it benefits will split the value of the trust.

Recipients include the Spurgeon Manner Retirement Community, Dallas Center-Grimes and Southeast Polk school districts, the Dallas Center Presbyterian Church, the Roy R. Estle Memorial Library and the city itself.

Burton Burnett, who made his fortune through farmland and a Dallas Center car dealership, established the trust before his death in 1976. It went into effect in 1986 after his 41-year-old daughter Penny Burnett died of cancer.

The trust has awarded $910,000 to Dallas Center-Grimes and $472,000 to Southeast Polk to provide scholarships to graduating seniors. Penny Burnett was a teacher and guidance counselor at Southeast Polk, according to information gathered by Dallas Center resident Sylvia Miller for a booklet about the trust.

“We want all the families in town to know where it came from and not take it for granted,” Miller said. “It’s not government money; it’s not grants. It was a gift to our town.”

Mayor Michael Kidd said the city estimates its shares could come to $1.2 million. No final decision has been made on how to use the money, but it will likely include some economic development efforts.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com

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