values cannot be passed on to rising generations all at
once, in one big "data dump" towards the end
of a donor’s life. Rather, philanthropy is an evolving
opportunity for learning that is best pursued over a
from the start, young children can be involved with
simple giving activities. By the time they have
leadership opportunities, they will be well versed in
and comfortable with the family’s values and will have
developed philanthropic skills.
3-year-olds can be encouraged to select and donate
gently used items like clothes, books and toys to
children with less. When they assist in delivering these
items, they will see how their donations actually help
ACTIVITIES FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN
of our children already have plenty of "stuff"
— far more than any previous generation. On birthdays,
holidays and other special occasions, encourage your
child to request donations to a local charity in lieu of
a mountain of gifts most of which will be abandoned in
days and in landfills in months. Make sure that your
child has a clear understanding of how the donations
will be used. When parents walk the talk for their own
gift choices for holidays and birthdays, it sets a good
soon as a child is old enough to receive an allowance,
label three jars: one for spending, one for saving and
one for giving. One-third of the child’s allowance
should go into each jar.
a certain amount has accumulated in the
"giving" jar, help the child identify a
personally meaningful charity and deliver his or her
donation. Families do not need a lot of money to build
upon this healthy approach to money. One dollar in
change can be divided among three jars as easily as $100
children are old enough to have some useful skills, they
can join with other family members in a volunteer
project — such as working at a soup kitchen, tutoring
younger children or joining a cause-related walk.
Families can also include meaningful volunteer
activities in their vacations, especially abroad.
CHILDREN CAN DO MORE
parents and children grow older, education in the ethos
and skills of giving should evolve as well. It is
important to communicate honestly and transparently
about the family’s goals regarding money, estate
planning, philanthropy and charitable legacy.
often, the vision for philanthropic ventures is
unilaterally imposed by older generations. If they are
going to survive eventual transition, values must be
relevant to all. Begin to involve the rising generations
well before they are responsible for these decisions.
capture and hold the interest of younger generations,
give serious consideration to the causes they find
meaningful — even if these are not the causes you
would otherwise select. Millennials, in particular, are
very interested in becoming personally involved in
FOR FAMILY PHILANTHROPY
families with philanthropic interests choose to open
donor-advised funds, or DAFs. A DAF is a charitable fund
created by a donor within a public foundation. It allows
a donor to "advise" the sponsoring foundation
about which nonprofits should receive grants.
older children to research and recommend the nonprofits
in a DAF lays a solid foundation for future
family DAF can be opened by parents with a local
community foundation or through many investment firms. A
collective fund allows siblings to learn to collaborate
on donation decisions. Families with enough funds can
open a separate DAF for each child.
larger sums are involved, a family foundation can be
established. Once again, older children should be
involved in the process of researching and providing
input on donation decisions and need to have a respected
voice at the planning table.
addresses important societal needs. No matter the size
of a family’s philanthropic budget, the consistent
involvement of younger generations (and recognition of
their interests) can enhance family connectedness and
communication, teach kids to appreciate the lifestyle
they are privileged to enjoy, transmit values to future
generations — and leave a lasting family legacy.
it comes to philanthropy, it is never too early to