For Ken and Mary Terpstra, teaching their children to give back to the community has been something they’ve always strived to do.

“We wanted to get our kids into a philanthropic attitude, so each year when we gave gifts to the community, we had each of the kids choose a recipient.” — Ken Terpstra, donor advised fundholder

The family started with small amounts from their checking account when the children were in grade school and they often gave to causes they were passionate about, like animals. While serving on the GHACF board in the 90s, Ken and Mary decided to open a donor advised fund at the foundation. They established the Kenneth D. and Mary L. Terpstra Family Fund “to instill philanthropic giving in the kids as they grew up. We didn’t want to drop it on them when we die. Now the kids have an opportunity to give to organizations directly from our funds.”

“It’s been interesting,” Ken said. “Initially they were only giving to animal causes, but as the kids got older, we encouraged them to give 75% of their gifts to faith-based causes,” he added. “We don’t want to be self-serving and only give to our churches or our schools. It could be for missional causes or other community agencies.”

When Ken and Mary pass, 10% of their estate will go into their fund, and their kids will take over as administrators. This will allow their children to remain philanthropic to the causes the family has supported over the years, while also encouraging philanthropy for the next generation.

“My generation is generally thought to be the last generation where we will do better than our parents,” said Ken. “Maybe not for every family, but it’s out there. The pattern [of increased prosperity] has stopped.” By instilling a habit of philanthropy in their family, the Terpstras hope their family will continue to help “beyond just us, while still giving where our hearts lie.”

For more information on how to open a donor advised fund, contact Chris Riker at or 616-842-6378.