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Family. Faith. Philanthropy.

Continuing a tradition

May 10, 2023 | Daneal Lightner, content writer

Family. Faith. Philanthropy. Banner Image

Growing up, Jay’s father taught him and his siblings that to whom much is given, much is expected. He showed them how to stand for those who aren’t always able to stand on their own. And as the family experienced business and financial success, they shared their blessings with others.

Wanting to make the most impact with their philanthropy, Jay’s father began contributing to the Barnabas Foundation, a donor-advised fund (DAF).

DAFs are giving accounts or funds that work like this:

  • Donors make continued contributions to their fund over time and receive immediate tax deductions for each contribution.
  • Funds are invested by the foundation and the donor uses the value of the account to make grants to causes and non-profits they care about.
  • As the investment grows, donors can strategically use the gains to thoughtfully make the most difference.
  • Making gifts, grants, and contributions to the fund can include the whole family, instilling values and philanthropy in generations to come.

Jay says, “My father blessed our family. And in return, we use those blessings to make investments in the causes that are important to us.”

Then and now, the family makes some of their most meaningful and impactful gifts through their DAF and family fund.

Contributions to the Barnabas Foundation are invested and the gains used strategically and thoughtfully to make the most difference, such as matching the donations of other donors—helping more kids and families by turning one dollar into two.

A family tradition

Jay and his wife, Alissa, adopted their three daughters, Darby, Tyra, and Mia, through Bethany. In 2008, shortly after adopting their third daughter, Jay joined the board of his local Bethany branch. He has been an invaluable board member and is currently serving as president. For 15 years, he’s guided work to ensure every child is safe, loved, and connected through family by gifting his time, treasure, and talent. Jay says,

Throughout my time on the board at Bethany, things have changed. The world has changed and the way Bethany must respond to the need has changed, but our mission has not. Every donation is money well spent. Bethany has been in the business of helping children for a long time, and they continue to focus and work on the issues that affect kids who’re at risk. And all they need is other partners with big hearts, who care about people and want to come alongside them and help.

Through the Barnabas Foundation, Jay and his family have helped many children and families. They continue to give to Bethany because it’s a purposeful way to celebrate their daughters and their stories.

The foundation allows them to invest their donations, growing their impact while utilizing the tax benefits that come with DAFs.

“Giving in this way makes sense. It multiplies our blessings and grows the funds we can use to help more people.”

Though each member of the family has a passion that drives them, they all agree, family changes everything. They generously support Bethany and other causes that ensure everyone experiences the love and stability only family can give.

Being a good steward of God's gifts

As Jay reflects on the path God chose for his family, he remembers the joy of adopting his three girls. He recalls early days when he unexpectedly took on coaching the local high school girls’ basketball team. They won one game the entire first season.

Jay says, “It’s ironic. I asked God why he had me start coaching a girls’ team so many years ago. Then I realized he had three reasons. He was preparing me for my three daughters. I believe God never gives you something he hasn’t prepared you to take on.”

With 19 losses in his first coaching season, Jay recently celebrated his 300th win and second state championship. And his family has been there through it all.

More than 20 years after adopting their first daughter, Jay and Alissa continue their traditions of family, faith, and philanthropy. Through their giving, they strive to be stewards of the gifts God has given them.

The couple includes their daughters in decisions the Barnabas Foundation makes when gifting grants to non-profits, knowing that one day the girls will carry on the family tradition of giving.

“We teach our children how to give wisely and be good stewards of God’s resources so that for generations, our family can continue to serve those we’ve been called to serve. Through our DAF we can continue our family legacy.”

To discuss setting up a donor-advised fund or to make a giving plan of your own, contact your donor representative or Justin Rodstrom, senior director of gift planning, at or (302) 299-7339.

Your support changes lives