Values guide family’s grantmaking


So many critical needs; so many worthwhile organizations. How best to make a difference can be overwhelming. The Farnham family’s approach is direct and simple: know your values, get involved with organizations that advance those values, and support those organizations.

For Barbra, Jeff and their children, Alison and Ian, this means supporting groups like Young Life. Both Alison and Ian have been active with the Christian organization, which offers young people in middle school and high school opportunities for positive and life-changing experiences. The Farnhams also share their enthusiasm for worthwhile organizations with friends.

"They will often support programs we care about, and we support things that are important to them," Barbra explained.

These days, the Farnhams split their time between Waukesha and Arizona. Using their fund, the Alian Farnham Fund, they are making a difference in both communities and deepening relationships in two places. The fund, which they created in 2002, has been a family endeavor from the beginning. The name Alian comes from the combination of Alison and Ian’s names.

Barbra and Jeff are glad their children, who will succeed them as advisers, are involved with the fund now. As the children become adults, the fund gives them all another way to remain close.

"They know our wishes and will continue what we’re doing, and they’re excited about that," Barbra said.

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