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Bert Livingston

904-296-3300 ext. 5019

Creating a Shared Vision for Family Philanthropy

For many families, philanthropy is a core family value. Empowering different generations and branches of family to play a greater role in furthering the family's charitable activities - by facilitating a sense of identity with its work and ownership over the outcomes of that work - increases a charitable trust's chances of surviving and thriving in subsequent years.

Central to upping family involvement is creating a shared vision of philanthropy.....

Are the vision, mission, and values shared?

Start by taking a look at your family tree and asking yourself some basic questions:

  • Which family members are currently involved in charitable activities, and which ones aren't?
  • Why do you think some members have chosen to get involved and others haven't?
  • Are all family members fully aware of your charity's work?

Set up one-on-one meetings with family members to chat about why they are or aren't involved in the family's philanthropic activities.  Talk about whether there are specific barriers to entry which discourage certain family members from contributing to the family's charitable trust and about ways in which this can be overcome.

Ask about whether or not they identify with the family's philanthropic vision and what they understand about it's charitable work  Ask how they'd see themselves fitting in with the charitable trust and how their particular skills and personal attributes could be best used, if they were given the opportunity to be a part of things.

The use of trusts involves complex tax rules and regulations.  Consider enlisting the counsel of an estate planning professional and your legal and tax advisors prior to implementing such sophisticated strategies.