United by the Joy of Giving
In his book, The Genius of Generosity, pastor and author Chip Ingram tells the story of assisting an elderly businessman’s strategic plan for generosity. After a successful career, Jim Saville wanted to share his money with the underprivileged, but he didn’t know how to connect with the people he hoped to help. Chip was a twenty-something pastor well acquainted with serving the marginalized in their community. Seeing an opportunity, Jim set up a discretionary fund and tasked Pastor Chip with using it to help people in need.
The Joy of Giving Together
Every couple of months, the two men would get together for lunch and Chip would share stories of how Jim’s generosity was impacting peoples’ lives. Jim was so thrilled with their secret generosity plan that when the discretionary fund became depleted, he happily refilled it. Several years and several thousands of dollars later, practicing generosity together had kindled a deep and abiding friendship.
While Chip and Jim’s secret alliance is certainly unique, the joy they experienced giving together is not. I’ve seen it time and again as I help families plan their charitable giving and practice generosity together.
Family giving often starts by simply modelling generosity. Parents and grandparents talk about their charitable giving openly, sharing their motivation for supporting the causes they care about and encouraging their children or grandchildren to practice generosity. With these values instilled, the next generation can become more involved in the details of generous giving as they grow older.
Generosity Brings Families Together
A Generosity Plan™ allows family members of all ages to make charitable donations together. The plan is usually started by a specific family member, but everyone can donate as much to their Gifting Fund™ (commonly referred to as a donor advised fund) as they are able. This fund not only lets the family support registered charities right away, but also allows donations to be invested for future giving. By pooling their resources, the family can make a larger, more impactful gift together.
Many families gather at specific times each year to decide how much money they wish to distribute and when, as well as which charities they want to recommend for support. Involving generations of family members in this process helps families discover opportunities for philanthropy they might not have considered on their own. Giving together, they reach new people and places with their generosity. Some parents and grandparents take the further step of providing their grown children or grandchildren with a gift of cash, and encourage them to use it to start their own Generosity Plans.
Contributed by Peter Dryden
Gift Planning Consultant