Creating a Family Tradition of Giving

The holidays are a time for family traditions, including family philanthropy.  The reasons are many: supporting family values, creating a legacy to the community, but even family relationships can be strengthened through the process of defining your charitable goals. Research has shown that while most baby boomers feel giving is a rewarding activity very few involve their children in making charitable decisions. 

To get started on this new tradition, it can help to think about events or people who have affected your family’s life.  For instance, if you enjoyed  the outdoors you may want to support recreation or conservation efforts. Maybe you had a favourite uncle whose memory you could celebrate in a relevant way.  Many families are simply grateful for what their community has provided and everyone to have the same opportunities.  Do you know what legacy you want to create or the actions you want to model for your community? 

Establishing a family fund at Hamilton Community Foundation is one option to assist families. Family members determine the areas they want to support, contribute over time and recommend grants. Staff assist you by presenting community needs that fit best with your goals.  There are also a number of resources available to help you start the conversation.  The Giving Family: Raising our Children to Help Others by Susan Crites Price, is full of practical tips on the value and practice of giving; Inspired Philanthropy: Your step-by-step guide to creating a giving plan, by Kim Klein, provides tools for a family giving strategy.  Staff at the Community Foundation are available to help walk you and your family through this process in a way that is both enjoyable and meaningful.

Whatever your family chooses to support, do it with intention and purpose to maximize your impact – and your giving satisfaction.

Sheree Meredith is Vice-President of Philanthropic Services at Hamilton Community Foundation.  HCF links the philanthropic interests of donors with Hamilton’s community needs and opportunities.