Lessons in Giving with Kevin and Wanda Turpin
Giving takes many forms – volunteering, donating, and sharing your talents. Kevin and Wanda Turpin have done them all. The Turpins have been married for more than 40 years, and they believe in philanthropy and giving back.
Kevin Turpin is the founder and executive director of the nonprofit Life Enrichment Center, a children’s literacy program which in 2021 received a $50,000 grant from the Black Community Partnership Fund at the community foundation. Wanda Turpin is the site director and office manager.
“Reading can take you all over the world,” Wanda Turpin said. “So that’s my passion – to see a child become all they can be through reading.”
The Turpins believe in giving back to the community. They are founding members of the Visionaries for Change giving circle, and they are active in New Life Church, where Kevin Turpin is a senior associate pastor.
Paying it forward
“I struggled personally with reading, and actually, I got left back in first grade,” Kevin recalled. “I had a lot of folks helping me. That following year, it just clicked. It’s pretty interesting that God would allow me to focus on an area that was such a struggle for me and he would use that to the good of others.”
Where it all began
“From a child, I would watch my dad give,” Wanda said. “He wasn’t the type to brag. He just did it. My mom, too. Then we started tithing as a family. As soon as I started working, even small jobs, tithing was very important to us, and so it still is.”
Teaching the next generation
Wanda’s advice: “Always be willing to help someone in any way. Whatever it may be, use your talents and do it young so that it’s always in you, in you forever.”
Giving in the Black community
“Often times when it comes to philanthropy, people don’t think of African American folks,” Kevin said. “But we are givers. We’ve always been givers. We’ve given out of our need. ... We’ve always had a giving spirit. That’s part of the culture.”
Wanda, who is African American and Shinnecock, said her family cared for her aging Shinnecock grandfather when they lived in Southampton, New York, accompanying him to the annual powwow and learning the history of the Shinnecock Nation and bringing it back home to share. Her father, one of the first Black golf course superintendents in Southampton, New York, used his success to help relatives and friends in need. It was never a burden to him but a joy.
Who can give?
Wanda said you don’t need to have millions of dollars.
“You just need to have it inside of you that ‘I’m going to do this because it’s the right thing to do,’” she said. It could be volunteering one hour a week or anything to help someone else in need. “Just be committed,” she said.