June 14, 2023
Charitable giving can be nebulous and intimidating, but the millions of small donations made by regular people each day towards causes they care about prove that many give in spite of whatever fears or reservations they may have. In the past few years, people have become fairly familiar with things like a gofundme or a Facebook fundraiser, where people very quickly come together to support a cause or individual in need. But family giving doesn’t always have to look like this. I recently spoke to Marcy Mager and Mimi and Truman Deliee, who launched a family fund in 2022.

Mimi Deliee started off our conversation by saying “We and our parents had volunteered at food distribution before, our whole family did volunteering, and donated to a range of charities. In 2021 when I was 16 and Truman was 12, we just decided ‘you know, we have enough things, and instead of people spending money on us for things we don’t really need, why don’t we do something meaningful with it?’” And thus, the Mager-Deliee Family Fund was formed. Her grandmother, Marcy Mager, nodded along and added “I helped guide their ideas when we first spoke about it, by asking questions to determine what was really important to them. We talked about putting resources together for a long-term venture as opposed to something that would end after just one occurrence.” Marcy Mager is one of the founders of the Michell Merhige Scholarship Fund at the Community Foundation, which was created with her late husband in 2009 to honor the life of her adopted daughter, Michell Merhige. Partnering with the Community Foundation to host the family’s philanthropic vision was a fantastic fit.

The Mager-Deliee Family Fund was launched in September of 2022, and has already awarded funding to Aspire!, an organization that provides after school learning to students in Arlington County. Aspire! was also awarded funding as part of the 2023 Community Investment Funds grant cycle. Marcy and Mimi, visited an Aspire! session, in awe of the real effect their vision could have. “I just graduated, and it’s amazing to think we’ve started to have this kind of impact already,” Mimi shared.

An Aspire! tutoring session

As we wrapped up our conversation, I asked the three what advice they’d give to families or individuals looking to create a fund, or launch any kind of philanthropic venture. Mimi chuckled, giving a heartfelt and realistic take so common among Generation Z, “The truth is, you’re not going to have a huge impact very quickly. You need to be patient with yourself, and celebrate the little victories. One family fund isn’t going to change the world overnight, and that’s okay.” Marcy commented that “for older folks, it’s important to talk about what matters to you, and what you want your legacy to be, even though that can be scary.” Marcy suggested that whatever a family fund looks like, there should be a strong intent to bridge generational gaps, encouraging younger people to engage with older people in the creation and execution of the fund, and vice versa. “What you give matters less than doing it together as a family.”

It was such a welcome conversation speaking to Marcy, Mimi, and Truman about the Mager-Deliee Family Fund. You can learn more about family philanthropic opportunities on the Family Giving page, or by contacting our philanthropic team.