Philanthropy can benefit your family in many ways

Janice Loomer Margolis, Philanthropy Advisor
Janice Loomer Margolis, Philanthropy Advisor, JLM Philanthropy

Philanthropy is about supporting our communities and making them better – and from this we can get a huge sense of satisfaction. Philanthropy may have added benefits – and for families a key bonus is that philanthropy may be used as a tool to train children about the value of money and how to use it responsibly.

In the excellent book Philanthropy, Heirs & Values published in 2005 by Roy Williams and Vic Preisser, the authors surveyed 3,250 families and 91 family foundations and discovered that families found that philanthropy was generally an unrecognized, yet valuable, tool for preparing heirs in areas such as finance, accountability, mission and the importance of values. Philanthropy also built skills in communicating well, listening carefully, defining goals clearly and sharing expectations for accountability. These tools and lessons helped to develop heirs for success in their workplace, social settings and community settings.

Many affluent people worry about the impact of wealth on their children and recognize that affluence has the power for good or for evil. Philanthropy can help the next generation to see money as a tool for good.

We know that many of children’s values are formed based on what they see modeled by their parents. By involving children in family philanthropy, they are exposed to a number of observable and understandable interactions between the family and the outside world. They can actually witness the positive impact that their family is having in their community.

For example, in a family I will refer to as the Daniels, Tom and Katherine started a construction company in 1957. In the 1980’s they began making significant gifts to their church and the local hospital. In the 1990’s they established a foundation. Tom and Katherine encouraged their three children to be involved in the foundation and one of the children helped with the administration. From quite early on, each year they would designate a certain amount of money from the foundation to each child who would have the authority to designate how the funds were to be distributed. That child would research the project and share the rationale for its support and after the distribution would monitor how the funds had made a difference and report back on this. The children now have children of their own and have used this model with their children and in some cases have gone out and volunteered with organizations they are supporting.

Modeling philanthropy can take place during one’s lifetime and when one is making plans for their estate. A continuum of sharing with community is a healthy value.

By working on philanthropy together, wealth may be an enabler of opportunities for heirs as opposed to being a burden. Family members can develop mutual respect and trust as well as build family coherence and strength. They can look out at the world and embrace it together.

Janice Loomer Margolis is a philanthropy advisor who works with families, couples and individuals to create and facilitate a safe and productive environment for them to share their values, interests and goals. Together we develop and implement a plan to make their giving meaningful, satisfying and effective.


BC’s Make-a-Will Week is April 7-13, 2019. MAWW is a Ministry of Justice campaign that brings awareness to the importance of creating and maintaining an up-to-date will, which ensures that the people, charities and organizations you care about most receive the benefit of your estate.

In conjunction with the Leave a Legacy Vancouver program of the Canadian Association of Gift Planners, we are sharing tips and info throughout the week to help our readers learn more about wills and their pertinence in ensuring that final wishes are understood and executed. Visit our blog all week for key posts related to MAWW and will preparation.

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