The Family That Gives Together

Smith Family

It’s a new decade, and another Christmas is firmly in the rear-view mirror. We all love to give and make time to spend with loved ones during the holidays, but that Christmas spirit often gets lost when we fall back into our busy family routines. But what if togetherness and generosity were the family routine?

Grow Generosity with Family Philanthropy

Parents and grandparents have a tremendous impact on younger generations. According to a survey administered by 21/64, 90% of Millennials and Gen-Zers said their giving was influenced by their parents, and 63% said their grandparents had inspired them to give. Family philanthropy is a great way to model values and introduce young people to charitable giving. In fact, people of all ages have an opportunity to share their values and learn from one another.

The Smith* family was looking for a way to give back from their successful family business. They wanted to include all three generations, but time was such a limited resource, and nobody really knew where to begin. They contacted Abundance Canada for help, inviting me to a family meeting over hot tea and Grandma’s cookies. Everyone was excited to get started giving and passionate about their plans.

We discussed the various options available, including how Abundance Canada supports families who are interested in setting up a family foundation. The Smith family decided to open a Gifting Fund™ because it was the easiest option. The grandparents, parents and young adults all agreed they wanted to contribute. The grandparents and parents were at a stage of life where they were looking to give a substantial amount of money, but the younger people were just at the beginning of their careers and didn’t have an abundance of financial resources. How could they make sure everyone felt equally involved?

A New Family Tradition – Giving Together

After some reflection, the Smiths decided the younger generation would be responsible for recommending which charities their family should support. Excited, the young adults offered to research charities that were meaningful to them and then present their findings to the family. They even found some great charities that their parents and grandparents had never heard about before but were enthusiastic about supporting. As the younger members of the family grow in their own careers, they anticipate joining in making financial contributions to the Gifting Fund and eventually delegating the job of researching charities to their own children.

The Smith family appreciates that Abundance Canada manages their Gifting Fund for them. They don’t have to worry about the administrative tasks, the accounting and the investment management. Instead, they spend their time together discussing which charities they are passionate about and sharing stories of the impact their generosity is having in the world.

A Multigenerational Solution for Families

Multigenerational generosity isn’t one size fits all – every family is different. In some Gifting Funds, one generation or even one family member provides the bulk of the funding while everyone else contributes as they are able. In others, each family member is responsible for contributing a certain amount. Some families designate each family member to recommend the charity they would like to support with a specific percentage of the Gifting Fund each year. Still others host a regular family gathering where they make a group decision on what charities to recommend and how much they want to distribute and when.

Giving together requires conversation, compromise, and understanding across generations, but a Gifting Fund has the flexibility to meet the needs of each generation as they practice generosity together.  When multiple generations make charitable giving a priority, it becomes much more than a transaction to a charity – it is a touchpoint that brings families closer together.

With 85,000 registered charities in Canada, where will your family give together this year?

Contributed by Susan Yakabowich
Gift planning consultant

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