A Family Commitment to Change

How much is enough?

That question stuck in Dave’s mind after participating in a JustFaith group at his church, where they met once a week to learn about major issues like hunger, poverty, racism, immigration, and more. He started adding up all of the birthday, anniversary, and holiday gifts that were exchanged in their family – with four children and four grandchildren – and decided it was too much. He wanted to ensure that they were giving “enough” back to make an impact, and at the same time, that he was involving his family in this larger purpose.

Rather than giving a gift in Dave’s family now, he sends a card to the recipient and a check to their family fund, opened in 2007 at the Foundation, and his wife Lenda and children do the same. Since the inception of the fund, the family, who takes turns directing the grantmaking on an annual basis, has made 73 grants totaling more than $100,000! That’s an impressive total for a small family fund, as he would say, and he’s excited to pass the decision making on to his granddaughters in the coming years.

Each family member’s passion is noticeable, as the fund’s direction changes a bit each year based on who is in charge of grantmaking, but for him, the environment has come up more than once. That JustFaith class (that he’s now facilitating) has been emphasizing environmental issues, including Pope Francis’s, “Care for our Common Home” encyclical, talking about climate change and excess consumerism.  A former biology major, Dave says that he feels like he’s been learning about the negative effects of humankind on the environment forever, and that it’s so important for us to continue learning. Stressing the importance of awareness, and that he isn’t sure people are even aware of the major issues in our community, Dave shared that for him, it’s important to get out of his comfort zone and see what’s going on elsewhere.

“There’s a lot more complexity to environmental issues than – Hey, just fix your pond – it’s about learning. Let’s have dialogue, not discussion, respectfully learning and listening from a different perspective, by not judging it.”

What We Do

We believe in the importance of funding environmental conservation in our community. By increasing land conservation and its stewardship, building public awareness, understanding, and support of conservation through innovative programs, we can protect our natural resources for the Triangle’s future.