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The Thorpe Family: Turning grief into good through philanthropy

Grieving the loss of a loved one can be overwhelming, and many grieving families seek to bring something positive out of their loss. After the devastating loss of their infant son, David and Alicia Thorpe found solace in philanthropy.

“We weren’t sure what to do,” explains David. “Something we struggled with was our son’s significance. He didn’t get a chance to live a long life and make an impact. We wanted to do that for him and honor him.”

Making an impact with their son’s name

The Thorpes established a philanthropic fund named after their son. “It was a way to honor our son and create a legacy for him. So many people expressed their support for us and wanted to help,” explains David.

Donations came in from family, friends, colleagues and others from around the country. Via the fund, the Thorpes have made “healing gifts” to several family grief support programs as well as organizations focused on children. They also started an annual day of service in their son’s name, which brings dozens of family and friends together each year for a day of volunteering. Three generations of their family have gotten involved by making donations to the fund, joining the day of service, or both.

“Philanthropy has been a huge help with the grief process,” says David. “You can move from heartache to the joy of making a positive impact in the community.”

Rose Community Foundation’s role

The Thorpe family established the memorial fund as a donor-advised fund housed with Rose Community Foundation. Their philanthropic advisor, Anita Wesley, works closely with the family to help identify charitable organizations that fit the family’s interests and values, and that help support the healing process. “Meeting Rose Community Foundation feels like it was meant to be,” says David. “We’ve been very lucky to have Anita and the Foundation behind us.”

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