It is Mike and Amy McGowan’s theory that being able to give back to our community and to causes that are important to each of us allows us to look beyond ourselves and see the bigger picture. Using their gifts to make an impact in others’ lives is important to them. They live by the saying, “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” They strive to model the joy of giving to their children and help them understand the benefits of sharing.
Learning about the importance of “giving back” early on from her own parents, Amy understands the significance of giving back even when we feel we may not have much to give. For that reason, Mike and Amy make it a priority to set aside money, even a little at a time, and then give thoughtfully to the organizations and causes they believe in. By including their children in family discussions about where to make a gift, they are instilling a strong foundation for philanthropy in the next generation.
To further that education, at Christmas they gift each of their children with an amount they can donate however they would like. “It’s rewarding to watch them do research and think about how they’d like to pass on that gift,” says Amy.
The Community Foundation makes it easy to donate to those causes. The framework of the Community Foundation provides a structure to make giving easy, and joyful.
The ability to make gifts through the Michael & Amy McGowan Family Fund at the Community Foundation to multiple programs and causes is appealing to the McGowan family. They’re most passionate in supporting their church, basic needs, clean water, education, Down’s Syndrome organizations (in honor of their godchild), and Habitat for Humanity (a long-time interest of Amy’s and her place of employment). They have found that their kids tend to choose the same causes, but the youngest always chooses to include giving part of her gift to animals.
The act of giving to the causes they support is a way to honor something they believe in or someone they love. Amy and Mike firmly believe, “Giving these gifts creates joy, and shares love.”