Unity has a number of Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) with donors who actively participate in making grants to local charitable organizations. Some of these DAFs are guided by individuals, some by couples, some by entire families! Every fund is unique and has a special history.
One La Porte County family, who for anonymity purposes will be called the Smiths, has been practicing philanthropy together for several generations.
“In our family, philanthropy has always consisted of a combination of time, talent and treasure. There wasn’t a lot of the ‘treasure’ component in previous generations (think ‘The Great Depression’), but giving of time and talent were strongly encouraged and demonstrated.” –Aunt Smith
Conversations about giving back to the community begin at a young age in the Smith family. Aunt Smith set up a DAF with Unity Foundation so that her nieces and nephews could have the opportunity to take more ownership and make giving of their “treasure” an extension of who they are. The only requirements are that the grants must be kept in La Porte County. They are also encouraged to choose youth oriented projects.
When asked about what type of message or takeaway she was attempting to instill with her nieces and nephews, Aunt Smith replied, “Primarily that all of our gifts of talent and treasure are just that; they are gifts from God. And helping others through sharing of those gifts will enrich both the donor and the recipient if the gifts are thoughtfully given.”
As a family with religious roots, the Smiths learned a great deal about giving back to the community through their church affiliation. Yet they are also greatly influenced by each other. Before passing away, Grandmother Smith (mother of Aunt Smith) was an active volunteer in several local agencies while trying to raise four children and run a business as a single parent.
“…We can all make a difference in our own families and the communities in which we live. The best thing about giving back to your community is that you can see the results of your efforts virtually every day. And that makes it all worthwhile.” –Aunt Smith
It is their hope that with the help of their Donor Advised Fund, the legacy of giving will continue through future generations.