In 1952, Department Commander Dr. Garland D. Murphy, Jr. of Arkansas, came to The American Legion with an offer to provide a valuable contribution if we could figure out some way his gift could be used solely for children. After much study and discussion, the idea of a foundation was adopted. Later that year, the National Executive Committee appointed a special committee to determine the feasibility of establishing such a proposed foundation.
Eventually, on October 15, 1953, the National Executive Committee approved the establishment of the Foundation and entered into a trust agreement with Dr. Murphy. Legal work was completed, and on July 9, 1954, the Foundation was duly incorporated under the laws of the State of Indiana. At that time, Dr. Murphy assigned to the Foundation deeds to fractional mineral rights on nearly 10,000 acres of land in the oil-rich Williston Basin in Montana and North Dakota.
In 1955, it gave its first three grants totaling $22,500 to three organizations. The Delinquency Control Institute, the National Association for Retarded Children, and the National Society for the Prevention of Blindness were the first three beneficiaries.
To date, over $17 million has been awarded to organizations to assist the children of this country from the American Legion Child Welfare Foundation, Inc.