The Giving Tree Sculpture and Garden

Giving Tree sculptor, Morgan Elser, and her lead fabricator, who is also Morgan's nephew, Steven Fosdyck

The Giving Tree sculpture, and the surrounding Giving Tree Garden are located adjacent to the Morton Community Foundation (MCF) office at 105 E. Jefferson Street in Morton (corner of 1st and Jefferson streets).  The sculpture was commissioned by 2 local donors so there was no cost to the MCF.  The leaves of the tree are used to recognize donors who had given at least $5,000 over the life of the Foundation.  The stainless steel structure is 21 feet tall, and 15 ft in diameter.  The Giving Tree itself weighs about 2,000 lbs., and it is welded to a steel plate that weighs 5,000 lbs.  The steel plate is bolted into 4 concrete pylons buried in the ground.

A leaf was initially added for every qualifying donor, and one leaf for each of the approximately 50 different funds held at the MCF.  The leaves were laser cut by Premier Fabrication of Goodfield, IL.  Each leaf was laser engraved with the fund/donor name, hand bent by the artist, and welded to the tree.  Approximately 400 leaves were added initially, and there is room for about 200 additional leaves as more funds are added, and more donors reach the $5,000 threshold of donations.

This video shows the creation of the Giving Tree Garden, and installation of the Giving Tree sculpture, created by artist Morgan Elser. Video music is, "Frontiers", by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.

Someone planted a tree and we enjoy the shade.  That is the idea behind the Giving Tree Garden and sculpture at the Morton Community Foundation. Throughout our community there are examples of projects and ideas that were planted, watered, and were given time to mature and grow. The leaders that cultivated these ideas knew they may never benefit directly from what they started. They had a vision and a dream and acted on it. They were thinking and planning for the future, for people that would live in Morton in years to come.

 The Giving Tree Garden honors this idea by recognizing people that have donated financially to the Morton Community Foundation so the mission and leadership of the MCF can continue. It was paid for by donors – residents that love our community and want to continue to provide shade for future generations.

The Giving Tree was designed and created by artist Morgan Elser.  This is what she had to say about the collaboration to create this sculpture:  "This collaboration is my vision as an artist, combined with the faith of my dear friend, Susan Pyles, and her community connections; the expertise of a most talented lead fabricator, Steven Fosdyck (my nephew); the facilities and knowledge of Matt Parker of Parker Fabrication; the generosity of Apostolic Christian Services for sculpture placement on their property; as well as the belief in this project by two anonymous donors who commissioned it in behalf of the Morton Community Foundation.  This project has been a great blessing for me to see my vision come to life, and to collaborate with all who have been involved."  You can contact Morgan via email at:, or by phone at:  309.202.8665.

Look around Morton and you will find other examples of "trees" that were planted for the future—McClallan Park, Freedom Hall, The Bertha Frank Performing Arts Center, the Morton Public Library, the Morton Pool, Idlewood Arts Pavilion and the Morton Pumpkin Festival.

The Morton Community Foundation invites you to stop by the Giving Tree Garden and enjoy the view, visit with friends, and sit in the shade. Is there a tree you would like to plant?  Stop by our office and we can talk about your dream.