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The Montante Family

The Gift of Family

For many Western New York families, generosity seems to be in their DNA, passed on from one generation to the next. From a young age, Carl Montante says he learned from his parents to give what he could. He and his wife, Carol, passed that on to their four children, Laura, Carl Jr., Michael and Tim. The siblings saw their parents give back in many forms, from purchasing TVs for local workers during the holidays to supporting local organizations during tough times. “We grew up knowing that you give back to your community,” said Michael. “It’s always been part of our lives.”

They have also engrained a culture of caring at their family-owned company by giving employees opportunities to allocate funding and to take time off to volunteer.

Now that Carol and Carl’s 10 grandchildren are young adults, the next Montante generation is making its mark. The cousins shared a childhood filled with volunteering at charity events, delivering clothes to those less fortunate and seeing their parents and grandparents step up to help whenever they
saw a need.

“At this point, giving back just comes naturally,” said Megan Montante, a recent college graduate. This youngest generation also emphasizes their desire to pay it forward. “As soon as my kids can walk, I’m going to get them involved in giving back,” said Zak Zaepfel, Laura’s son, who is a recent high school graduate. “I hope when they are older, it is  just a part of their culture and lifestyle.”

To help meet their charitable goals, the Montantes established the Carol & Carl Montante Fund at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. “The Community Foundation  has made things easy for us,” said Carl. “We do not have to worry  about investing the money or the technical aspects of having your own private foundation.”

“And what the Community Foundation is doing to teach our children about philanthropy is also very helpful,” added Michael. “It is a big part of how we hope to pass on this legacy of giving. We are now approaching it with a bit more structure, as opposed to just learning it as we go.”

And just what is the secret for making sure generosity remains in the family’s DNA? The Montantes unanimously agree that it is doing meaningful things together as a family. “Just be with the ones you love and do good things for other people,” said Michael. Megan agreed, “When you bring your kids along with you, you show them the good that you can bring to others.”