Family Philanthropy: Starting the Conversation

Family vacations and reunions can be something to look forward to – but let’s be honest, they can hold an element of dread as well. What on earth are you going to talk about with Uncle Bob after the first hugs and hellos? Will the teenagers ever get off their devices to talk to you? And even if you do get along well with your siblings, will this be the last time you really talk until Thanksgiving?
You might find that contributing to the greater good, instead of focusing on internal family dynamics, is just the bonding experience you’re looking for.

Family philanthropy can be as simple as taking an afternoon away from the beach to help out at a local food bank. Or it might be time to discuss a more in-depth commitment, like starting a private foundation or donor-advised fund. But you’ll never know until you ask.

Not sure how to get the ball rolling? Download our Conversation Cards, a printable PDF of questions that give everyone a chance to chime in on what matters most to them–and why.

You might be surprised to find out what your cousin is passionate about–and you also might find common interests you didn’t know you shared. It’s also a topic that every family member, at every age, can contribute to.

In fact, many families find that engaging in philanthropy is the perfect way to share values and create “teachable moments” for the younger generations.

You might also realize that there is a cause that honors the memory of a departed family member. Organizing your time, talents, and resources as a group to support that cause can create opportunities for both healing and remembrance.

The Kaufmann family, profiled in our Annual Report, has found all of these benefits since Wayne C. Kaufmann made arrangements for a private foundation as part of his estate plan. Now they enjoy their board meetings as time to come together, and use donor-advised funds to help the grandchildren get involved in giving.

The more involved your family becomes in their philanthropic efforts, the more opportunities you will have to keep talking. YouthBridge can help facilitate the conversations and decisions needed to get started and select funding recipients. We’re also happy to meet with your family and your advisors to help you decide if a donor-advised fund, private foundation, or other approach is best for you.