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Getting Started in Family Philanthropy

As a philanthropic individual or family, it all starts with you. Depending on your vision and goals, you have many choices available to you for establishing a family philanthropy. To help you think through this process, we offer the following suggestions and tools:

  • Think about what sort of impact you wish to have on the community and then write down your goals and objectives. Ask yourself, “What do I wish to accomplish with my philanthropy?”
  • To learn more about charitable vehicles,  use the Family Giving Considerations Worksheet and Getting Started Vehicle Comparison Chart.
  • If you wish to raise charitable children, but you aren’t ready to set up a formal giving structure, see our resources on Engaging the Next Generation.
  • For guidance on specific questions you may have as you establish your foundation, contact a member of our staff or check out our Ask the Center collection.

As you move forward, discuss your plans with family members so they are engaged from the outset. You’ll contribute to society in ways few ever experience while forming family bonds, based on a common purpose, that endure for generations. As one of our favorite family philanthropists once said:

“Starting a family foundation isn’t rocket science.”
- Jaylee Mead (1929 – 2012), Research Astronomer, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Co-Founder, Gilbert and Jaylee Mead Family Foundation
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