Generations of Giving: Spotlighting Our Family Philanthropy Initiative

I like to say that here at the Bainum Family Foundation, our middle name is “Family.” And just as our founders Stewart and Jane Bainum were intentional about passing along their commitment to giving, the Foundation is equally intentional in every component of our Family Philanthropy Initiative — ensuring all generations of the Bainum family find their unique place in advancing the legacy of our founders and helping others.

This forward-looking commitment stemmed from first-hand experiences in Mr. Bainum’s past. He grew up poor, and through hard work and tenacity, became a very successful businessman. However, he never forgot his roots and was determined to give back by helping underserved children clear the obstacles he had faced so they can reach their full potential. Today, his mission lives on through the work of the Foundation and the four generations of the Bainum family.

While the Foundation focuses on serving children through our three focus areas — Early Learning, Wrap-Around Support and Knowledge Building — our Family Philanthropy Initiative comprises three of its own components that allow for more flexibility with the Bainum family’s giving.

The Family Fund was established to encourage family members from all generations to come together as a committee and engage in philanthropic giving. The committee meets twice every year, and its current focus is funding programs that prepare underserved children to enter kindergarten ready to learn and succeed by supporting their social, emotional, physical and intellectual growth.

The G3 Fund was established by Mr. Bainum to encourage his grandchildren, the third generation of the family, to collectively engage in a philanthropic cause. Managed by five members of the family, the G3 Fund currently focuses on addressing hunger and food insecurity in the Washington, D.C., area by funding organizations that address the root causes of poverty, including housing, employment, education and sustainable infrastructure. However, the purpose of the G3 Fund can change depending on the members’ wishes. Just last year, the family expanded the fund’s focus to respond to a clear need in our nation — disaster recovery. Grants were given to help alleviate devastating damage caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Puerto Rico, the Florida Keys and Texas.

The Global Education Fund, established by a son of the founders, works in some of the most difficult corners of the world — addressing issues including early childhood development, early primary education, and education for women and girls. Through this fund, we partner with and support respected organizations that prioritize vulnerable and marginalized children in developing countries. Our first cohort consists of four grantees — Firelight Foundation, Global Fund for Children, International Rescue Committee and Save the Children — and supports work in six African countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia) that focuses on improving early learning.

With opportunities provided by these three funds, Bainum family members — including their spouses — exemplify a high level of generosity. In the Winter 2018 issue of the University of Maryland College of Education’s magazine Endeavors (pages 26 and 27), Dr. Wilfried Busse is recognized for his contributions to the Center for Early Childhood Education and Intervention (CECEI). Husband to Barbara Bainum — our CEO, President and Chair of the Board — Dr. Busse’s grants were provided through the Foundation’s Family Fund and were matched by the Foundation through the generational giving program.

The contribution to CECEI reflects a key element of the Foundation’s interests as well as a personal interest of Dr. Busse. “CECEI’s emphasis on empirically based interventions and interdisciplinary scholarship aligns theory with practice and directly relates to the Foundation’s work,” says Dr. Busse. “Underpinning the Foundation’s efforts in wrap-around supports, CECEI’s research into trauma-sensitive interventions stress the need for supporting children’s social and emotional development alongside their intellectual development. Psychologists understand the importance of early intervention when the brain is quite plastic and malleable and most susceptible to learning — and so does the Foundation. We’re working towards the same goal.”

Mr. Bainum originally set up the generational giving program to match (up to a certain amount) the giving of second- and third-generation family members. Barbara Bainum, his daughter, embraced this spirit and now continues the program for the fourth generation and beyond.

“The generational giving program perpetuated my family’s philanthropic involvement, and I wanted to pick up where my father left off to keep future generations involved,” says Barbara Bainum. “This program allows my family to select organizations that advance both the Foundation’s work and causes related to their specific interests — and I hope this nurtures in them a true and lasting commitment to giving back and serving others.”

Learn more about our founders and how the Foundation came to be by exploring the History page on our website.