Spirit of Generosity

September 11, 2020
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The traditions of the Iowa State Fair are deeply rooted in the spirit of Iowa. From displaying the best in agriculture, providing world-class entertainment and bringing people together in celebration - the Iowa State Fair inspires hard work, creativity and pride.

The Iowa State Fair’s ability to attract people from all backgrounds and encourage youth involvement is at the heart of our Fair’s success. The Fair is proud to play a role in helping youth develop not only their knowledge but also their character. It takes hard work and dedication to see a project evolve from an idea to a Fair entry, just as it takes hard work, leadership and character to build a business, a community and a nation.

The “Spirit of Generosity” giving program is designed to honor the character and generous spirit of Iowans. One special Iowan we are honored to highlight is the late Mr. Richard Jacobson.

Richard “Dick” Jacobson was a true philanthropist, eager to give of his time, talent and resources to help others. Raised in Belmond, Iowa, Dick grew up knowing the value of hard work and drive. After college, service in the Army and a few years in business, Dick founded Jacobson Warehouse Company in 1968 with two employees. His hard work, leadership and creativity built his company into a business with national impact recognized for excellence in customer service and employee satisfaction.

A long-time Fairgoer, Dick epitomized what has made the Iowa State Fair the best in the nation. Since 1854, our Fair has helped grow leaders by bringing people together in competition, inspiring all to raise the bar while having fun. Dick’s generosity across the state is well known and his support of the Iowa State Fair through the Richard O. Jacobson Foundation has changed the landscape of our Fairgrounds forever.

“It’s all about changing lives“, he explained, and helping people find their path. The Iowa State Fair is fortunate that he cared deeply about Iowa’s grand agricultural tradition. His gift allows us to continue preserving the history of the Iowa State Fair, while improving the grounds and facilities for future generations.

The Blue Ribbon Foundation invites you to continue Dick’s spirit of generosity and help preserve the value the Iowa State Fair brings to the people of Iowa.  Located in the west atrium of the Bruce L. Rastetter 4-H Exhibits Building, the “Spirit of Generosity” panel is a representation of Iowa, demonstrating how independent pieces come together to create our great state and its Fair.

Recognize the hard work of your 4-H or FFA member, commemorate your family’s tradition of camping, celebrate your competitive entry blue ribbon or the excitement of your first visit to our classic Fair. With six suggested giving levels starting at $100, each donation will be recognized on the panel. You can give your donation online.


Spirit of Generosity Donor Wall:


John Putney, former Blue Ribbon Foundation Executive Director, and Dick Jacobson pictured at the construction site for the Jacobson Exhibition Center built in 2010.