Values, Kids, Philanthropy, and COVID-19

Henry Scott conducting important philanthropy business

We’re eating more meals together than we ever have before. We are getting to know our neighbors better. We see our child or children more hours of the day, and many of us are fortunate enough to hear the sounds of toys and giggles filling our homes. Ok, while all of these facts are true (and my son is adorable on Zoom meetings), we are also experiencing tough moments, tantrums, and, “Mommy, do you have to go back? Don’t you want to stay with me?” None of this is fair to us as adults, and it certainly isn’t fair to our kids.

In addition to my job as program director at NCFP, I am the mom of a 2-year-old with another little one on the way this summer. While balancing caring for our son with two full-time jobs is a challenge, it’s also a privilege. One of us is working or with a toddler in tow from 7am when my husband goes to work until when my work day ends at 9pm (after clean up and bedtime), and sometimes either one of us goes back to work. No, we aren’t baking bread from scratch, but we know that we are lucky to be healthy and have so much at this difficult time. It’s sometimes tough to focus on the larger implications of the pandemic in the midst of juggling our new day-to-day normal.

I have had inspiring opportunities to learn and work with kids from giving families and nonprofits or community foundations who are passionate about philanthropy and enacting social change. When presented with challenges, youth are resilient and innovative, and often eager to help others. While it’s difficult to find time to discuss values or engage in philanthropy as a family, discussing COVID-19—and its disproportionate and broad sweeping impact—and the value of philanthropy can be a meaningful way to connect with your kids. Spending time with youth around ways to alleviate suffering will certainly give them agency at a time when children are often feeling a lack of control. And, it may give you valuable time for reflection amid these very uncertain times.

Resources for Engaging Kids in Philanthropy

Below are some resources that NCFP has gathered for families during this time. They include tools and tips for talking to your kids about COVID-19 and are centered on resources about grantmaking. Please read these ahead of using them to ensure they align with how your family and community are staying safe around physical or social distancing.

NCFP’s Engaging Youth Peer Network is hosting a dialogue on May 20 around engaging youth and next-gen family members in grantmaking decisions and social change responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

The Giving Square is a youth philanthropy program in schools and for families. They are sending out a weekly newsletter with philanthropic resources, ideas, and opportunities. Their tips are often from kids themselves and include timely webinar resources for middle schoolers.

Youth Service America has resources about volunteering during this time for kids of all ages. If you are looking to volunteer or engage virtually for service, check out their lists.

The Social Distance Giving Kids Kit features creative ideas for activities to safely engage with neighbors to give back during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Indiana Philanthropy Alliance created a resource list for youth philanthropy programs. This list is a great round up of the resources around the field at this time.

UNICEF has created a set of tips on engaging youth and adolescents around the crisis.

Embrace Race has developed resources to support parents in conversations around race, acknowledging that perceptions of race are present even at toddler ages. If you are working to figure out discussing race with kids, they are a great resource and share a lot on social media.

Learning to Give’s Simple Safe Service shares activities for families and teachers to practice generosity while social distancing.

Understood has created a special collection of tools and resources for kids and adults with learning differences or disabilities who are struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

Project Giving Kids has some virtual service project ideas.

These are just a few of the many timely resources we’ve seen on engaging youth and next-gen in philanthropy during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. NCFP is working to track new tools and resources on this topic, and please let us know if we can serve as a resource to you and your families.