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This is the story of how a Stewards Fund serves the Vander Kooi family. 

Joel and Vivian Vander Kooi were clearly cut out for one another.

Joel started trimming hair for family members and neighbors when he was only 13. Vivian became a licensed beautician two years before Joel went professional. When they wed at the age of 22, they dreamed of a one-stop, family hair-care business—Joel barbering on one side of the building, and Vivian running a beauty shop on the other.

Joel and Vivian built their business at “the four corners” in Borculo, Michigan. “We got talking about it and said, ‘Why don’t we just build it…just make it double as big!’” recalls Joel.

For 52 years, the couple lived next to their shops, raised their family, and walked to work together, often holding hands.

Along the way, they lived frugally and invested their savings. “If you do things a certain way, you can have a good standard of living and have something for the Kingdom,” explains Joel. “You’re just as happy.”

This basic approach to living amplified the opportunities for the Vander Koois to express their priority for generosity. “We were always conscious about saving and investing,” notes Joel. “And the truth of the matter is, it really snuck up on us, the amount we had in mutual funds, stocks, and real estate.”

To simplify their giving and maximize its impact, they opened a Stewards Fund account (donor-advised fund) through Barnabas Foundation. This enabled them to give into a single charitable account and then recommend grants to their church and all their favorite ministries. “There’s so many needs and so many places,” remarks Joel. “Spiritually speaking, you want to get the most bang for your buck.”

A Stewards Fund also makes it easier to give anonymously, which appealed to Joel and Vivian. “The Bible says, ‘Don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is doing,’” remarks Joel, quoting Matthew 6:3 (NIV).

Although Vivian passed away in 2018, Joel continues to advance their dreams for generosity. “I think of homes for unwed mothers or about children that need a home,” reflects Joel. “There’s such a need now. It’s incredible.”

Their five children, thirty grandchildren, and fifteen great-grandchildren are also extending what Joel and Vivian began. Their daughter, Sue Postma, notes, “Stewardship is passed down from generation to generation. I can see this in how my kids are living.”

Joel has advice for anyone who wants to become a giver by being a saver, “Waste-not, want-not, and be a good steward,” says Joel. “God multiplies it all, like the Word says.”

To learn more about the Stewards Fund and other giving options, contact Barnabas Foundation at 1.888.448.3040 or email [email protected].

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