The Importance of Giving Back

For Minnesota family dynasties, it’s all about contributing to the community

Editor in Chief of Minnesota Monthly Rachel HuttonSo far as I know, my Huttons aren’t related to the namesake of Hamline University’s Hutton Arena, legendary head coach Joe Hutton, Sr., who spent 34 years at the school and sent seven players on to the pros. Nor are we related to E.F. Hutton, founder of what was at one time the country’s second-largest brokerage firm. (Though when I tried to tell that to kids at school who teased me by parroting the old “When E.F. Hutton talks” commercials, they, well, didn’t listen.) And my cousin Lauren Hutton isn’t that Lauren Hutton. The only person with any significant name recognition I’m remotely related to—and I mean remotely, as in a great-uncle’s wife’s sister’s daughter sort of way—is 1970s supermodel Cheryl Tiegs, the nine-time participant in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue who wouldn’t know me from a pink bikini. 

Most of us aren’t related to well-known names, much less part of a family lineage whose work in one area has been continued by subsequent generations. That’s why we wanted to spotlight some of these influential Minnesota families in this month’s cover feature: from business titans (Carlsons, Pillsburys, Daytons), to political dynasties (Mondales), to sports legends (Parises), to artistic innovators (Bellamys).

We asked several of these family members to share their thoughts on the values they inherited from their forebears and the legacy they hope their family will be remembered for (as well as some of the pressures they feel and pet peeves they encounter due to their family name). Even though these families have earned innumerable achievements, the heirs we talked to didn’t name political offices achieved, products invented, or revenues earned among their clan’s proudest accomplishments. Instead, they mentioned building and strengthening cultural and educational institutions, serving their neighbors, and bettering their fellow Minnesotans’ lives. So whether your family name is known far and wide, or just within your own circles, here in Minnesota it will be remembered less for the accolades you’ve received from the community, but more how you gave back to it.