Why We Give: The DeVine Family


Ava Claire DeVine was a force for good in her family, among friends and in her community, bringing light into every room she entered and seeking out those who were hurting. Tragically, Ava died in a car accident when she was a 21-year-old senior in college. Her parents, Paul and Kiersten DeVine, wanted to honor their daughter and ensure her light continued to shine in a meaningful way.

Ava Claire DeVine, 1998 – 2020

Amid the outpouring of support from friends and their own immense grief, the DeVines opened a donor advised fund at Foundation For The Carolinas to accept memorial gifts. Gifts to the fund, named the Ava Claire DeVine Foundation, support girls and women who are victims of sex trafficking — a cause that became important to Ava following her research on the issue for her personal International Baccalaureate (IB) project at Myers Park High School.

When the DeVines were ready to make grants from the fund, their FFTC relationship manager helped identify and explore funding opportunities for nonprofits that help victims of sex trafficking.

“It took our family a long time to do this, and it was incredibly difficult to find the mental and emotional strength to spend the much-needed time to research, meet and discuss,” said Kiersten.

Through meetings facilitated by the Foundation, the DeVines were introduced to Dahlia Grove and met its Executive Director, Gayle Smith. A nonprofit social enterprise, Dahlia Grove empowers and employs women survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence and sexual exploitation. The nonprofit provides a two-year rent-free residential program and resources for healing and recovery. It also provides job training and employment for survivors through its Community Cafe.

“We felt an instant connection and knew this would be a wonderful way to get involved and to lend support to those doing vital work,” said Kiersten.

Dahlia Grove’s new 15-passenger van was made possible thanks to a gift from the Ava Claire DeVine Foundation.

Dahlia Grove was in desperate need of a van to transport residents and to increase its catering capacity. The DeVines saw an opportunity to meet this need. In February, the Ava Claire DeVine Foundation donated funds to purchase a new 15-passenger van — complete with cargo space for catering events.

In announcing the gift, Kiersten expressed her family’s gratitude to the many individuals who donated – and continue to donate – to the fund and to all those involved in doing this work.

“We are grateful to God for giving us Ava. We are grateful to Ava for selflessly caring about this population of women who are often overlooked and lack resources and support. And we are grateful to Dahlia Grove for making an impact through a loving, caring, successful program.”

Learn more about the meaningful ways FFTC Donor Advised Funds and Memorial Giving Funds can meet your charitable giving needs. 

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