O.A.T Travelers Lynn & Denny Allen Give as the Spirit Moves Them

Denny and Lynn Allen enjoyed traveling but had never considered an exotic destination until 2009, when neighbors persuaded the couple to join them on an O.A.T. trip to Egypt. “We thoroughly enjoyed it and felt this was a way we could see countries where you’d probably struggle on your own because of the language and so forth,” says Denny. “We’re sold on O.A.T. because they do such a wonderful job.” They’re now booked on their 12th O.A.T. trip.

The couple has always given generously to charity. While he was working, Denny had charitable donations deducted automatically from his paycheck. But when he retired and was deciding where to allocate the couple’s gifts, he began digging into Charity Navigator online, to see what percentage of the funding of various organizations went to administrative fees. A charity that funnels 90% to the actual recipients is rare. He was impressed that, with Grand Circle Foundation, 100% of all donations goes directly to the school, village, or project, with no administrative fees or marketing costs deducted from the gift.

In Tanzania, one of the Foundation’s partners is Safe Water Ceramic Filters, which provides water filters to schools, communities, and individuals. While on an O.A.T. adventure in Tanzania, the couple watched as clay filters were being made as part of the Foundation’s WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene) initiative. They were moved to make a donation on the spot and plan to donate to the WASH initiative again this year.

School visits also have an impact on the Allens—so much so that they donated to a school in India. “When you see the people and their immense gratitude for what is being done, you see how important it is,” says Lynn. “It just grabs you to want to try to do more.” Denny adds that, when you donate to a school, the surrounding village also benefits. “It’s not just the kids who appreciate it,” he says. “The parents do, too.”

In all, the Allens have made 15 separate donations to the Foundation over the years, for a total of $10,941. Sometimes, they give their gift during their adventure, and they also make an annual donation from their home in Thousand Oaks, California.

Their most recent donation was to the Foundation’s general fund. “Sometimes, if we’re going to give a good chunk of money, we let the Foundation decide what’s the most pressing need,” says Denny. “We trust that they’re going to put the money where it’s needed most.”

“It’s gratifying when you’re giving money to see something tangible or see people who are being affected by it,” Lynn points out. “It makes it more real. And it’s good for the soul.”

We hope that the spirit will move you, too, to join Lynn and Denny in giving a gift that can make an impact in schools and villages around the world.