Success Story

Social Change: One Family’s Legacy

Social change runs deep in some families. It’s a tradition passed on through words and deeds – a legacy as sure as those marked by names on buildings.

That’s the case with one multigenerational family we’ve come to know. Their commitment to helping others started years ago at home and spread far beyond. You can see it in Stephanie, the middle generation. We’ve changed her name but not her story. She recalls growing up with a supportive father who found interest in anything that interested her. Then, when Stephanie struggled with addiction, he was there too. By her side. Always.

Stephanie went on to have children, pursue an education, and become a social worker. It’s in her day-to-day work that we see the seeds of giving being planted in the next generation. When visiting underserved families, Stephanie would often bring her daughter along.

Now a college student, that daughter, whom we’ll call Leigh Ann, is keenly self-aware and following in her mother’s footsteps. Her mission: helping the homeless. Leigh Ann regularly volunteers at local shelters when she’s not fundraising for international causes to support homeless children or managing her college coursework.

And Stephanie’s father, who started it all? He’s a big part of Leigh Ann’s life as well. He consistently forwards articles about homelessness and provides donations when his granddaughter is fundraising for her favorite international nonprofit. Leigh Ann acknowledges him and her mother for instilling in her a behavior of giving – a lesson passed on through their strong sense of well-being and love.

Yes, social change runs deep in some families. It is a legacy. A legacy with meaning and purpose.

Lessons of Giving Start One Example at a Time

There are so many ways to make a difference. Some of us give with our wallets. Some of us build with our hands. And some of us contribute our time. However we help others, giving by example can be the best way to establish a legacy of family philanthropy.

That’s the story of a woman we’ll call Sarah. She grew up in a family of modest means. But that didn’t mean they couldn’t give to others. Sarah’s mother volunteered, and she talked to Sarah about the charities that were important to her.

When Sarah reached high school, she followed her mother’s example. Sarah became a candy striper at a local hospital. And that tradition of giving continued as she got older, married and had children.

While on a family trip to the Far East, she and other like-minded people learned that a small group of homeless children needed an orphanage, a school and a sustainable farm for a reliable source of food. Through donations and volunteer work, they made that possible.

Sarah’s efforts were not lost on her youngest daughter, who helped raise money to provide the school with computers. Sarah’s daughter traveled back to the community to work with the school’s teachers to install laptops and support the students with a computer literacy program.

Three generations of philanthropy: grandmother, mother and daughter. A legacy of giving to support others in need. Making a difference in ways that matter to them.