Engaging the Next Generation in Generosity

student march

Last fall, Greta Thunberg gave a compelling call to action against climate change[1]. She was 16 years old at the time. Greta has Asperger’s Syndrome, OCD and Selective Mutism, which she explains as “only speaking when necessary.” Her frustration with the lack of action against climate change caused her to speak up.

She recalls learning about the threat to the environment when she was eleven. Yet, when she listened to the news and other adults, no one seemed concerned. She says, “But, no one ever talked about it.” Why was this? Why was no one doing anything?

If you follow the news, you will know that hundreds of thousands of students across the globe have joined Greta’s call to action. Schools striking against climate change will be one of the big news stories of this decade.

It can be so easy to lament the youth of today. They are often referred to as selfish, self-centered, and lazy in the media. Yet, what if these shortcomings were simply a fall-out of adults who may have neglected to share their values, or aren’t talking about generosity, volunteering, or kindness?

If we want to engage today’s youth, let’s start these conversations.

If we want to engage today’s youth, let’s start these conversations. We have many clients who involve their children and grandchildren on short-term aid trips, with the goal of inspiring compassion and awareness. There are others who live out their generosity – by supporting their church through tithing, giving to charity or volunteering at a local event – being an example to their children.

Another way to connect with the youth in your life is to find out what they are passionate about. It did not take a big budget campaign to grab the attention of thousands of kids around the world about climate change. It took one, very passionate teenager to speak up.

A family foundation is a practical way to get young people involved in charitable giving, and is very different to setting up a private foundation. This unique method of giving allows you and your family to contribute to a donor-advised fund (DAF). With a DAF from Abundance Canada, you can direct money to be distributed to one or many charities. With a minimum donation of $100, it is easy to get started. Sitting down and planning where you want the money distributed can be a valuable learning experience for a young person.

Conversations are about listening and sharing. What is your teenager (or grandchild, or neighbour) saying? How can you share your values of generosity with them? Start the conversation. You may be surprised at the impact your words can have.

You can learn more about the difference between a private foundation and a family foundation with Abundance Canada here >

Starting a conversation may be all it takes to engage the next generation of givers.Click to Tweet

[1] Watch Greta’s 2018 Ted Talk: The Disarming Case to Act Right Now on Climate Change

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