Generational wealth is complicated and nuanced, and no two families see it the same way.
Angela Middleton, M.D., and her husband, Ryan Mitchell, were never comfortable with the idea that their wealth should be spread only among their four children. They worked hard and earned their way to their success, they said. Now they would like to demonstrate for their children that finding causes worthy of that hard-earned wealth is a legacy that endures.
The couple have provided several gifts to support a variety of causes on the MCV Campus. This year, they created the Dr. Angie Middleton and Ryan Mitchell Scholarship at the VCU School of Medicine to provide support for incoming students with financial need. They also gave to the School of Medicine’s Neuroimmunology Research Fund and the Heart Health in Women Symposium, as well as various funds within the VCU Health Pauley Heart Center.
Along the way, they have sought to involve their children, who are ages 21, 19, 15 and 10, in the discussions and process.
“We’ve sat down with our children and tried to explain our thought process,” Dr. Middleton said. “I think they are starting to comprehend what we’ve told them and, over time, we’ll give them more and more responsibility. They have to be involved, and I’ve already seen the excitement in them.”
Mitchell said he was raised to do for others.
“Our society is incredibly unfair,” he said. “You get stuck in this bubble, but it’s good to get out in the real world. There are a lot of people who really struggle, and I think you have a richer life experience when you appreciate that and see it with your own eyes.”
The couple acknowledge that many of the financial discussions go over the heads of their youngest two children for now, but as everyone ages, all four will be expected to pick up where their mom and dad leave off.
“The goal for our family’s philanthropy is to have meaningful, long-term relationships that make an impact, and then see that impact,” Mitchell said. “Hopefully, 35 years from now, we’re having a family meeting about our giving and the kids will be running it.”
If you would like to support the causes you care most about on the MCV Campus, please contact Brian Thomas, executive vice president and chief development officer of the MCV Foundation, at 804-828-0067 or firstname.lastname@example.org.