Supporting children is our best opportunity for the future.
This is a theme San Diego philanthropists Natalie and Bob Muth strongly believe in as they support youth development programs and engage their own children in giving back.
However, their philanthropic journey is not altogether common. Natalie and Bob’s story is one that is more heartbreaking than most. But oftentimes, life’s most difficult moments can bring out the best in humanity.
Raised in families that instilled the importance of active civic participation, Natalie and Bob always knew they wanted to be involved in the community. “Giving back was something we were taught while very young,” recalled Bob. “This still remains with us today.”
Eight years ago, when they decided to start donating financially, a life-altering moment occurred that would impact the family forever. Natalie and Bob lost their child Teddy to stillbirth.
The Teddy Fund
In that moment, amid the unthinkable pain, Natalie and Bob showed their resilient spirit and passion for life.
“We didn’t have a lot of money at the time, but we wanted to turn a difficult situation into something positive,” commented Natalie. “This is why we started the Teddy Fund.”
The purpose of the Teddy Fund is to support programs that align with the age Teddy would have been each respective year. And in the process, the couple engages their children, Thomas and Mariella, in their grantmaking.
Every year, the family sits down together to discuss local programs and organizations that they would like to support. Through this annual giving process, the couple hopes that their children, despite their young ages, will play an increasing role in philanthropy which will trickle down into their individual lives.
“We already see them becoming more engaged and excited each year,” noted Natalie. “We want our children to see how important giving is to us and incorporate that experience into who they are.”
As Bob put it, “We want Thomas and Mariella to recognize that it’s a privilege to give back to others. We hope that by giving together as a family, we can set the stage for our children to give back on their own as they grow older.”
Just as they do for their own children, the way Natalie and Bob choose to live their lives today and support youth development programs in the region serves as a model for others.
When hearing Natalie and Bob’s passion for philanthropy, it’s clear Thomas and Mariella are destined to do the same when they grow older.