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Involving the Next Generation in Philanthropy

Different methods are utilized to help younger family members learn about philanthropy and build an understanding of what their family’s foundation does and why. There are many informal approaches that can help younger family members learn about philanthropy, but family foundations often look for more formal ways to engage them in the foundation. Some of these approaches include:

Foundation board meetings: Family foundation board meetings can include the next generation. Younger family members can attend as observers or be encouraged to ask questions, share opinions and discuss grant requests even though they are non-voting. Alternatively, younger family members may be invited to attend a part of the board meeting that is geared toward issues and requests that are of most interest to them. Some foundations create a separate board called an auxiliary board for younger family members to meet and decide on allocating a sum of money set aside for them.  

The Personal Side of Giving

Giving to charity in a meaningful way is deeply personal. 
It requires consideration of how you feel – really feel – about   giving to charity, what your motives are and the outcomes you hope to achieve.  While accountants and attorneys are enthusiastic about the tax advantages of contributing to nonprofit organizations, what we have found is that donors are just as likely to cite numerous other, more personal reasons to contribute, not the least of which is the pleasure they derive from giving.  


Among the main reasons people donate: 

Paying Back:  Many donors who have enjoyed success in their lives feel they should share their good fortune, often with those organizations and institutions that were instrumental in their success.   People who attended a university where their degrees led to careers and contacts may be inclined to give back to their alma mater.  Likewise, a religious institution that provided support in difficult times is often remembered.  You may feel an emotional tug toward another type of organization, such as a social service organization or hospital.  Indeed, you may already know that the satisfaction from such gifts is particularly meaningful.

External Resources
Internet Resources
National Organizations
  • Council on Foundations

  • Exponent Philanthropy

  • Foundation Center

  • Jewish Funders Network

  • National Center for Family Philanthropy

  • National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy

  • National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers

  • Women and Philanthropy

  • National STEM Funders Network

  • Grantmakers in the Arts

Local Organizations
  • Forefront

  • Chicago Foundation for Women

  • Chicago Women in Philanthropy

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