Motivated by family

When Luke and Stacey Thomas looked to formalise their giving via a community foundation sub-fund one of their motivations was always their two children. Stacey says, ‘We have always been civically-minded and made donations to causes that we were passionate about but wanted to create a really intentional way of getting our boys involved.’


They established their sub-fund via a gumnut account in 2010 and made their first $5,000 grant in 2020, but it wasn’t until earlier this year that they involved their children in the process.


‘Our first grant was a conversation between the two of us in the backyard and it was a very quick, ‘no-brainer’ type decision,’ Luke explained. ‘We realised though that if we wanted to get the boys involved there would need to be a little more explanation about what the issues were.’


With their children now in middle and upper primary school, both felt they could go into a little more detail about what concerns the community had. ‘Initially, we had a conversation about what the boys were interested in, and they were able to identify organisations they had heard of and come across, but not so much the issues these organisations were addressing,’ Stacey said.


It was then they decided to use the newly developed Vital Signs report to show the children some of the facts about greater metropolitan Adelaide. According to Stacey, being able to lay it out and discuss issues according to theme made it easier, ‘We knew our younger son has always been drawn to the environment and reading through such a big document with a young child was a bit too much. He was able to go through the topic headings and when we got to environment and sustainability his eyes lit up and we knew where his interest was and could discuss some of the issues more deeply.’


Luke adds, ‘For our older son, he devours information and read the entire report before being drawn to an increasing statistic around homelessness.’


The Thomas family didn’t rely just on Vital Signs to aid their decision making, also drawing on a recent article from the ABC around the health of the Port River dolphins.


They both admit one thing they have had to let go of is all agreeing on where their family grants are going. ‘For us it is demonstrating giving back, caring for the community and the passion this can foster. If the boys choose an area that may not have been the top of our list, this is ok. When they made their decisions both boys disappeared to get some of their own pocket money to add to the donations because they felt the causes were so important. Without a doubt, this is what it is about – creating the next generation of givers who will do what they can with their time and resources.’