David and Cheryl Venarge are Akron success stories, but their success didn’t come easy. Now, through the David R. and Cheryl L. Venarge Fund, they’re keeping a family tradition of giving alive with both their children and grandchildren.

Each was raised by hardworking parents who struggled to make ends meet. Their parents’ example taught them about the importance of a strong work ethic, and it paid off: The couple comfortably raised a family in the suburbs while giving back to their community in ways they never thought possible.

But with comfort came concern. How could they make sure their family values of hard work and charitable giving didn’t end with this generation?

In 1999, they found a solution: the David R. and Cheryl L. Venarge Fund at Akron Community Foundation. This donor-advised fund allows the Venarges to give back as a family while equipping the younger generations to perpetuate the couple’s legacy of giving long after they’re gone.

“Our donor-advised fund enables us to share with our children and grandchildren how we feel about Akron,” Cheryl said. “Discussing (funding options) with them brings us together as a family to help others.”

It’s an approach that includes three generations of family, and it’s an approach that engages them all equally in the work of giving back.

“The community foundation has made finding information easier for us,” says Tom. “They’re doing all of the homework. They present our (fund) with lots of options. They know what the money is going to (support) and how many people are going to be affected. And then it’s easily described to kids of all ages. We’re getting our kids involved, and my nieces are also involved.”

“Teaching them to help others (through our donor-advised fund) won’t be just about the money,” David said. “It will also help develop their character so they can do other good things for people. That’s the kind of person I want my granddaughters to be.”

Read the full article about a family fund empowering three generations from the Akron Community Foundation at National Center for Family Philanthropy.