Handicrafts vendors at summer farmer’s markets are getting ready to pack up their wares for the season. Many will soon find their way to harvest sales and Christmas markets in the coming months. The trend towards handmade, artisanal gifts reminds me of my grandmother’s intricately knitted afghans and delicately crocheted doilies. Grandma loved handwork. She sold everything she made and donated the proceeds to her favourite charity. During a visit in my youth, I asked her why she didn’t just keep her creations or the income they generated. Looking around her sparsely appointed apartment, it was clear to me she could have used the money. Grandma answered simply, “there are people who need it much more than I do. I am glad I can still do something to help others.” I have never forgotten her words to me that day.
Following in Her Footsteps
Grandma gave generously out of her belief in living simply so that others could simply live, and she wanted her children and grandchildren to do the same. Many of the values I now live by trace back to her example. I would like my adult children to live generously, and I know that it’s up to me to set the example for them. Young people are always watching what we adults do, and they need to see tangible evidence of our passion for giving. If we practice small acts of kindness every day, we can only hope that they will follow. To foster faith-based compassion, we need to help our kids understand the reasons why we give. Most importantly, we must provide the opportunity and invite them to participate.
From Generation to Generation
A family foundation at Abundance Canada can open the door to a family focus on compassion and generosity. You can make a regular gift of publicly traded securities. Families can make an annual cash donation, letting kids save a part of their allowance each week while adults set aside a portion of their own income. Contributors can even direct estates and life insurance proceeds. Your family can decide together where and how you want to give. Some choose to distribute funds annually to one or even multiple charities, while others maintain a longer growth phase in the hopes of making a larger donation later.
The process to set up the foundation is simple, and offers personalized options for building up and distributing funds. From the youngest children to the eldest grandparent, everyone can contribute in their own way.
Like my grandmother’s words about her knitting proceeds, our children and grandchildren remember the things we do and say long after we are gone. A family foundation sets a clear example of generous giving and allows the whole family to practice generosity together.
Did you have a generosity mentor when you were growing up? Perhaps you’re helping the next generation learn to live generously. We invite you to share your stories and ideas of modelling generosity below.
To learn more about family foundations call 1.800.772.3257 to speak with a Gift Planning Consultant in your area.
by Darren Pries-Klassen, Executive Director at Abundance Canada