Youthful Charity Sparks Lifelong Kindness

Raising Next-Gen Philanthropists

Generosity has always been a part of Dan and Teresa Burns’s lives. Inspired by the Corporal Works of Mercy, the call to charity is close to their hearts. After college, Dan managed low-income housing properties, while Teresa used her Spanish language skills and education to assist immigrant survivors of domestic violence. Their giving has always been Spirit-led, supporting organizations and causes as opportunities arise.

Dan learned about additional innovative charitable giving opportunities while interning at CCF. As their family grew, Dan and Teresa knew they could start planting the seeds for a new way to give.

When the couple recently met with CCF to establish a donor advised fund, they brought more than charitable hearts and a vision of lifelong philanthropy. They also brought their four young children, all under the age of eight, who each brought their piggy bank.

“At that meeting, we read Matthew 25, ‘The Parable of the Talents’ and ‘The Judgment of the Nations,’” says Dan. “I asked the kids questions: Have we fed the hungry today? What can we do to grow the gifts God has given us in order to help those in need?”

“Living in Minneapolis, it was common for our older kids to see someone sleeping on a bench or standing on the corner with a cardboard sign,” says Teresa. “It was beautiful to hear them ask, ‘Mom, do you have anything we can give?’ I tried to make a habit of offering something — even pulling something from the groceries we just bought. We wanted them to understand that not everyone has a home, and food doesn’t just magically appear on everyone’s tables.”

The Burns family now lives in Maple Grove and attends St. Raphael Catholic Church in Crystal, where Dan serves on the Finance Council and Teresa started Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. With two children in school and two younger children at home, managing their philanthropic giving has become more challenging. A donor advised fund with CCF offers a practical, impactful solution.

“It’s always been important to us to encounter the poor face-to-face, but we are in a different season of life right now,” Dan says. “When the kids are old enough to help at a shelter or soup kitchen, we will — but that doesn’t excuse us from giving now.”

The Dan and Teresa Burns Family Fund will support organizations that help with the practical needs of people in the community. Now they can continue their loving acts of charity. The hope is that future stewards of the fund — their children — truly understand that purpose.

“It was important to us to know the money we’ve invested is going to support Catholic teachings,” says Teresa. “With CCF, we have the assurance that the fund is safeguarded and growing.”

Their children have already contributed to the fund, and through the years Dan and Teresa will encourage them to identify causes they would like to support and to continue giving.

“I remember volunteering at the food shelf in middle school. I was there at the right time in terms of moral development, to learn and understand the needs of others,” Teresa says. “As the natural desire to help grows in our kids, our hope is that this fund becomes not the only way, but a way for them to make a difference. We want them to ask, ‘Who is our neighbor?,’ and when the need arises, we want to be ready.”


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