Kasin Family Foundation

Helping the Kids Learn about Giving

Ever since the Kasin boys were in elementary school, the family has talked finances at Christmas dinner.

Their mom Cindy describes the scene: “We’d say: ‘Look, fellas, here’s what we made and where it went: income, taxes, your school tuition, the mortgage, charity. We’re fortunate. We can do anything we want — but not every thing.’ I’m not sure how much they understood, but they did get the concept that there are choices. And we decide our priorities.”

To actively involve their kids in philanthropy and managing invested money, Cindy and Jay Kasin started their own family foundation in 1997.

All three sons — at ages 17 to 22 — were made directors. (“Though we also had four adults,” Cindy says, “who could outvote them, if needed.”)

With no shortage of worthy causes, Matt, Phil, and Paul talked with their parents about “how to choose among goods.” Together they narrowed their foundation’s focus to human services organizations that make a big difference in the local community.

It was the kids’ idea to donate to Bailey-Boushay House. The two older sons were in high school just down the street when Bailey-Boushay opened. Their awareness of HIV/AIDS deepened through a Bush School day of community service here, a college writing assignment, and knowing people who had the virus.

Middle-son Phil says, “My brother Matt and I were both drawn to the fact that it was an underserved community and a misunderstood disease.”

“I think, partly, they were also testing us,” Cindy recalls with a smile, “to see if their more conservative parents would pony up for an edgier, alternative cause like AIDS.”

The more Jay and Cindy learned, the more they, too, were drawn to Bailey-Boushay’s work.

“AIDS isn’t a personal issue for our family, but we feel a connection to the people Bailey-Boushay is helping,” Cindy says. Having experienced one son’s struggle with drug problems, they understand Bailey-Boushay’s “harm reduction” approach to accepting patients with chemical dependency and mental illness.

“Not letting people come until they get clean and sober and have all their problems under control doesn’t make sense,” Cindy says. “They still need medication every day.”

“Bailey-Boushay’s 97 percent rate for keeping people on medication is fantastic,” Jay says.

“One of Bailey-Boushay’s appeals to me is that it helps the people no one else does,” says Cindy.

Jay adds: “Over the years we’ve always considered this our core connection. It’s allowed me to finally feel like we’re helping to make some sort of difference.”

By a unanimous vote of its directors, the Kasin Family Foundation celebrated Bailey-Boushay’s 20th anniversary with a donation of $10,000 for outpatient care.

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