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It's Not the Amount That Matters: How the Duvall Family gives back
/ November 18, 2015

The Duvall Family of Central Arkansas

C.J. and Karen Duvall prioritize giving to nonprofits that provide educational opportunities to young people and actively involve their two teenage daughters, Alisha and Alana, as advisors in their giving. Ultimately the Duvalls hope that their legacy is framed by the number of people they meet, touch and serve who, in turn, move towards a giving spirit themselves.

What is philanthropy to your family?
Giving has always been intentional in our family and is born out of a history of communal sacrifice. Our parents and grandparents taught us to give regularly through time and money. We were taught to tithe in church and volunteer time in our community. Arkansas Community Foundation allows us to carry on this family tradition on another level.

To what extent do you give from the head versus the heart?
Head versus heart is a constant balancing act, so having a personal mission plan or statement of purpose to guide your giving can help eliminate the gray along the way. 

What makes you happiest as a donor? What is most frustrating?

We are happiest when we can see the result of our donation. For example, the joy of watching a scholarship recipient graduate or hearing that a recipient is giving back to our community makes us very happy. On the other hand, our biggest frustration is discovering that a nonprofit has not been a good steward of the donation by channeling the donation away from the original purposes intended by the gift.

What are the chief challenges that you confront in your family’s giving?
The biggest challenge is always the same: defining our priorities in the face of knowing that there are so many great causes to support. We have a set list of priorities that makes it easier to make decisions annually; however, it is not set in stone and we evaluate periodically if the donor recipient list will change. The great thing about the Community Foundation is that the on-line tools and recordkeeping provide a history of our philanthropy to use as a historical map of past philanthropy.

What would you like your children & grandchildren to learn from you about giving to others?
I would like my children and grandchildren to know that giving is not about having a lot of money. Our grandparents were poor, but they gave as part of a communal renaissance. My parents were not wealthy but they gave to advance others. I want my children to know that they have the same DNA that spawned my giving ethic. If they act intentionally I doubt if they will be able to escape the desire or intention to give.

What is philanthropy’s importance to society?
If we were to remove the effort of intentionally promoting goodwill and service to others what kind of world would we have? If we removed both our private family and Community Foundation donations, a recovery center that serves hundreds of adults a year would not have had the land and initial capital to be constructed. Several hundred students would not have a cafeteria and student activity center. And several students that did not have the means to go to trade school or to college would not be actively employed today in occupations that provide them with a way to feed their family and “intentionally” give back to their community today. 

Are you interested in learning more about how Arkansas Community Foundation can help establish good giving habits with your family? We've compiled a list of resources that you can find here: 




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