Helping other families is a family value

PATH donors Aeron Noe and Jacob Grotta and their children.

PATH donors Aeron Noe and Jacob Grotta say their children, Esme and Emil, make them value even more the impact their gift can have on other families. Photo: Courtesy of Aeron Noe.

Aeron Noe and Jacob Grotta don’t consider philanthropy a choice or a luxury. They see it as a social obligation.

The San Francisco Bay–area couple grew up in families with strong senses of civic duty, from global activism to local grassroots causes. “We were both raised with the primary value that if you have more than you need, you give back,” says Aeron, a full-time mother and freelance writer.

“We’re hardly rich people in the American world,” adds Jacob, chief operating officer for Moody’s Wall Street Analytics. “But we’re very rich in the world world. It just seems like it’s a very natural thing to do.”

Now the couple is doing their part to make a difference in communities throughout the world—and instill that same principle of giving in their own children, a three-year-old daughter and one-year-old son.

Aeron and Jacob made their first gift to PATH at the end of 2006, inspired by both the organization’s financial responsibility and its impact on the health and well-being of other families like theirs. Health, says Aeron, is “a fundamental starting point for improving everything else in the world. If people don’t have health, they’re not likely to make any changes for the better in their own communities.”

Having children has helped Aeron and Jacob put themselves in the shoes of other parents—and value even more the effect their contribution to PATH can have on the world.

“I hope that it’s giving families like ours, that are growing up in communities without resources that we have access to, some kind of level playing field,” Aeron says. “The thought that my children might need health care and I can’t provide it for them is devastating. And no one should be in that position.”