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A Family’s Road to Leaving a Legacy

Founded in a 500-person town in Minnesota, Duininck Companies began in highway construction in 1926. Now, with a wider footprint that also includes golf course construction, general civil construction, and plastics manufacturing with a geography that covers the United States, the purpose of this family’s business remains the same: “To build value and live our values, stewarding family businesses for generations.”  Today, the third and fourth generation families carry out this greater purpose in their work by stewarding company resources to support Kingdom-building missions organizations, including Mission India.

Jeremy Duininck, Chief Culture Officer, shares, “When I graduated from college and I started building roads and building golf courses, it immediately felt pretty empty. But when I connected my work with the mission opportunity of giving back through practicing generosity with our resources, it gave my job so much more purpose.”

Leadership humbly kept corporate giving quiet for many years, but as they recognized the importance of passing down their values, more family members were brought into conversations around generosity. “We are intentionally engaging our spouses and the fourth generation to be involved on our giving committee so that the value and responsibility of generosity is realized and transitioned into the next generation,” Jeremy Duininck, Chief Culture Officer, explains. “One of the things we’re focused on is engaging our wider family into why we do what we do so that they carry forward the stewardship mindset the early generations started.”

A focus on values is incorporated into the annual Duininck Family Summit, in addition to spending time reviewing business updates and building relationships. This past summer, when the second, third, and fourth generations (ages 9 to 80-plus) gathered at the Family Summit, there was an opportunity to engage with one of the Gospel-centered organizations which the company supports: Mission India. Duininck Companies invited Mission India to bring 60 virtual reality headsets to the Family Summit so the whole family could see India in 360 degrees!

“We will likely not have 50 family members go on a mission trip together,” Jeremy says. So instead, he figured, “What better way than to take this concept and this [virtual reality] tool that Mission India has and bring it to us, and really let our family see the difference that can be made by a business that’s committed to supporting things of the Lord around the world.”

All ages walked away inspired by God’s work through Mission India. “To experience [virtual reality] together as a family, I think it went very well, better than I could have expected. I think people were really engaged in it.”

Jeremy recognizes that partnering with a ministry like Mission India doesn’t just mean financially supporting it. “Oftentimes giving the money away is the easy part and it just ends there. I think if we’re going to really be engaged in this, we need to be relationally supportive as well as hold missions organizations accountable. That’s a biblical responsibility to the mission, which means we must get involved somehow with our time as well. That doesn’t mean we’re doing their work, but it means we’re engaged with them and relationally supportive of them in this work we do together.” For Jeremy, being involved with missions organizations includes attending ministry briefings, building relationships with people at Mission India, and staying up to date on the impact the company’s gifts have made.

Any family and company can take a page from Duinincks’ book! “We don’t have to be in construction or manufacturing,” Jeremy explains. “We happen to be now, but whatever business we’re in, that business platform gives us an opportunity to give back what’s not ours in the first place.”

When asked how he’d encourage other families and businesses to pass down a legacy of investing in global missions, Jeremy says, “Well, in a sense, you just have to start. Prayerfully start with one thing, one time, and do it once, be engaged in the whole process. It will really drive the purpose of why you and your family do the things you do.”

“I don’t think there’s anything more important that we can pass down to the next generation than our values. And this is a practice that we’re committed to, not feeling like [it’s] because we have to, it’s because we want to. That was cultivated one day at a time, one interaction at a time by the first and second generations of our family.”

This family of entrepreneurs is building far more than business. They’re building a legacy of Kingdom impact and inspiring other families to do the same.