Encouraging Multi-Generational Giving

How clients train adult children to give wisely.

The following account is a true story based on a client’s experience with Excellence in Giving. The names have been changed to protect anonymity.

Many parents view their charitable giving as a constructive way to transfer their values about moneyand stewardship to their children. Excellence in Giving understands the challenges high-capacity families face as they attempt to educate their children to make effective charitable decisions. Our team of professionals helps families create not only a strategic plan for their charitable giving, but also an intentional process to engage and train family members across multiple generations.


Jerry Lumpkin is the founder and CEO of Calex Holdings. Jerry and his wife Clare have two married daughters, Karen and Cheryl. Karen, and her husband Brandon, just added a third grandchild to the family. Cheryl and her husband are the proud parents of two young children. 

Still working long hours to expand the family business, Jerry and his wife, Clare, are passionate about their philanthropy. In 2004, they supported nearly 30 different social and faith-based agencies doing work internationally and in the local Dallas area.

Last year they hired Excellence in Giving to help them make wise decision about the organizations that received almost $3 million from the Lumpkins.


Jerry and Clare agree that both of their children should be more engaged in the family’s giving. Until now, Jerry and Clare had given $25,000 to each of the children to allocate to their favorite charities with no formal oversight of the funds.

Now that Karen was 28 and Cheryl was 23, the parents thought that charitable giving would provide a platform to bring the next generation together around the funding of worthy causes.  The parents also realized that their charitable giving could be used to teach each of the children, and eventually grandchildren, key lessons about stewardship and community involvement. Since the children did not grow up with wealth, Jerry and Clare wanted their children to be able to deal responsibly with significant giving. Did the children know how to invest wisely in causes they cared about? Were their favorite charities making an impact or were the children only responding to appeals from development officers?

Jerry and Clare asked Excellence in Giving to meet first with Karen and Brandon, help them understand how to evaluate a charity, and then mentor them over the following months.


Excellence in Giving’s first step was to understand Karen and Brandon’s current involvement in their parents' giving. The team spent a few hours on the phone and in-person discussing what causes were most important to them and how they viewed their role in Jerry and Clare’s philanthropy. 

“At this point, I think our role in mom and dad’s giving is fairly undefined,” Karen explained at the time. “They've always been willing to support charities Brandon and I care about, but we’ve never really considered how much say we have in where and how charitable gifts are made.”

At Excellence in Giving’s suggestion, Karen and Brandon selected a charity to take through the evaluative process. The Asian Education Fund, a charity based in Hong Kong, matched their passion to provide education to immigrant youth in Southeast Asia's growing cities. Excellence in Giving gathered information about the organization, including financial audits, board minutes, and their strategic plan. Excellence in Giving also scheduled a conference call for Karen and Brandon with the organization's senior leadership. A binder of information was compiled and Excellence in Giving scheduled a follow-up meeting with Karen and Brandon to discuss the findings.

During the meeting, Excellence in Giving explained how to analyze the charity’s financial statements and suggested questions for them to ask prior to making a funding decision. After evaluating the proposal together, Karen and Brandon made a decision to provide a gift to the Asian Education Fund.


Excellence in Giving’s role in Karen and Brandon's was not finished once the training session was over. Through phone calls and face-to-face meetings, Excellence in Giving continues to help them make wise giving decisions. Jerry and Clare have increased Karen and Brandon’s foundation allotment to $100,000 for them to disburse annually to charities of their choice.

“Brandon and I are excited to be involved in our family’s philanthropy at a much more strategic level,” said Karen. “I think we both understand what it means to be not only generous but also wise givers. Al and his team made all the difference for us.”

The multigenerational training efforts with the Lumpkin family will culminate in a family meeting in the future. “I’m so glad that Karen and Brandon have embraced giving. It is something that Clare and I feel so strongly about,” said Jerry. “Excellence in Giving’s involvement gave my wife and me more confidence in our kids’ ability to make wise choices in the projects and organizations we support.”