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Weaving Philanthropy through Generations of a Family

A Donor-Advised Fund helps a family give grants that reflect the interests of four generations

“My parents cared deeply that after they were gone there would be a common thread for my family,” Steve Saunders says.

An estate attorney, Saunders serves on the Austin Community Foundation’s board of governors and has helped his clients realize their philanthropic goals by creating funds at the Foundation. Recently, when the opportunity arose for his family’s own foundation to find a new home, they decided to create a Donor Advised Fund at the Austin Community Foundation.

“Austin Community Foundation was the cost-effective choice to continue our family’s philanthropy,” says Saunders. “ACF does a really great job for a reasonable cost.”

Since 1945 Houston had been Charles and Betti Saunders’ home so when they created their family foundation in 1993 Charles managed it from his Houston office. But when the work became cumbersome the family sought an easier way to give. The Saunders family had the opportunity to “test drive” the Austin Community Foundation when they created a scholarship to honor Steve’s grandparents and benefit students in the small town where the couple had lived.

“What we found at the Austin Community Foundation was personal relationships, community knowledge, responsible investment and reasonable fees,” Saunders recalls.

“Thanks to Austin Community Foundation, philanthropy is woven into our lives,” says Saunders. “Everyone in my family--from my 89 year-old mother to the teenage grandkids—is able to make grants. We get to do the fun part and leave the work to Austin Community Foundation.”

“We are brought together at least once a year to focus on something bigger than ourselves. My father would be so pleased. Having a Donor Advised Fund at Austin Community Foundation has worked precisely as he would have wanted.”