How the Grove Family is Building a Legacy of Giving

In 1990, John and Bill Grove started Grove Transportation in Northern Kentucky. The brothers learned how to run a business from their grandfather, an Italian immigrant. Today, Grove Transportation is still family-owned and operated, providing quality jobs across the region and creating positive community impact through their fund at Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF).

Even in the company’s early years, the Groves were searching for ways to give back to their community. They approached a tax attorney about creating a family foundation. While exploring that process and finding many hurdles to launching a family foundation, Bill saw an article in the Cincinnati Business Courier about “DAFs,” donor advised funds at GCF.

A donor advised fund is a simple way for donors to create an account through a 501(c)(3) public charity for charitable purposes. These flexible accounts allow donors to make a contribution and receive an immediate tax deduction. Donors then recommend grants to their favorite charitable organizations over time.

“The process was very easy. I remember coming into GCF and signing a two-page document. The hardest part was trying to give it a name! It is very easy to set up a donor advised fund,” said John.

Setting up their family fund opened the doors to a new way of thinking for the Grove family. They began to discuss in earnest their family legacy and how they could leverage their family fund to create the greatest impact possible.

“As a business owner you’re always trying to look for tax efficiency,” John shared. “The donor advised fund not only created that, but it also created a whole world of philanthropic thinking for our family. And when we created that, we knew we had to teach our children about it, because they’re the ones who are going to take this forward. It also keeps our five children, my two children and my brother’s three children, together as family. They come together to do philanthropic work.”

The structure of a DAF is a great model for multigenerational philanthropy. GCF can work with families to create strategic, tax advantageous giving strategies that span beyond the lifetime of a single person or generation. In the case of the Grove family, they have added gifts of life insurance policies to amplify their giving. “We discovered that through life insurance we could really increase the size of this fund,” said John.

The family also set up an endowed fund at GCF to leverage the Endow Kentucky Tax Credit, which enables Kentucky income taxpayers (individuals and businesses, like Grove Transportation) to receive a state tax credit of up to 20 percent of a charitable gift to an endowment held at a qualified community foundation for the benefit of Kentucky nonprofits.

The philanthropic experts at GCF are highly skilled at creating streamlined strategies that amplify impact while making the process easy for donors.

“GCF consolidated our philanthropy. Our funds can accomplish everything,” John explains.

John’s son, Warren Grove, is a part of the next generation of Groves to advise the family funds. “We want to continue the legacy that John and Bill built,” Warren said. “We’re grateful to have the relationships with GCF. Everyone is warm and welcoming, easy to work with and knowledgeable. There’s a clear passion for what they do.”

When asked what advice they’d give to someone considering opening their own donor advised fund, John said, “With two pages of paperwork and a signature, you can become philanthropic and create a legacy that’s beyond you.”

For the philanthropic experts at GCF, working hand in glove with generous people like John and Bill, their wives Mariann and Melissa and their children, is our honor and mission. If you’d like to discuss your philanthropic legacy, please reach out to Laura S. Menge, CAP® Sr. Philanthropic Advisor at