You could say we began with the first act of kindness or connection between microorganisms in the evolution of organic life on Earth, because the Skees family believes that love is in our DNA.
Meanwhile, two individuals grew up on humble farms in Kentucky and Oklahoma, found their way to one another in St. Louis, and discovered they shared a lifelong passion for family, service, and one another. Jasmine and Hugh cared for seven children in a busy, noisy home with never enough money or time—but they always managed to donate dollars, belongings, blood, and time in balance with family life. Once their seven children dispersed to college, careers, and families of their own—now stretched from New York to Los Angeles—the two elders got going in fulltime service: hospice and hospital counseling, prison ministry, food and clothing banks, Habitat for Humanity, and the Dayton International Peace Museum.
One of the second generation, Suzanne, created the Skees Family Foundation in the San Francisco area in 2005. She contends that tackling social inequity and investing in the evolution of our species bring far greater personal happiness than any sports car or vacation home could offer. First drawn to finance when she realized her baby son Benjamin had access to the same food, shelter, and education she’d received as a child—merely because of geographical luck at birth—Suzanne became obsessed with the notion that all the world’s children should have the same.
Together with nonprofit partners, Suzanne envisioned a way to help needy families built on respect and equality, learning from the ingenuity and resilience of recipients of the foundation’s scholarships and microloans. Since 2005, she has collaborated with her three sons, her parent board directors, her extended family, dynamic nonprofit partners, philanthropic peers, and development experts, to direct small funds with big intentions into the most effective programs.
Meanwhile, Suzanne’s siblings, their partners, and their children had inherited the DNA of love and had all along been putting love into action in their own communities. So the Skees Family Foundation originally launched an online “Local 2 Global” multigenerational program to leverage the skills and compassion of our 30-member, cross-continental, strong family organization. After several years, the Local 2 Global program morphed into a Generational Grants program, with the goal of fostering philanthropic collaboration within each generation and sharing with any interested family members the knowledge of how we source, vet, and select an organization.