The approximately 40 kids who are part of the fourth generation of the Lawrence Welk family start learning about giving to others at around age 5.
"One of my cousins adopted a child from China and we all wanted to do something to support the adoption agency," said Lisa Parker, president of the Lawrence Welk Family Foundation and granddaughter of band leader Lawrence Welk, who hosted TV's The Lawrence Welk Show from 1951 to 1982. "There was a baby there who had a cleft palate, which the agency said made her unadoptable. We set up a mason jar with a photo of the baby for the kids to save their change to pay for an operation."
Soon, the kids' friends began donating their money and one 14-year-old relative donated $400 he had saved over several months.
"The kids raised $1,200 and, as a surprise, the family foundation matched that and another board member also matched it, so several surgeries were covered," said Parker.
The Welk family's inclination to expose its younger members to philanthropy as early as possible is a model that can work well for other affluent families.
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