Celebrating Milestones in Family Philanthropy: Inspiration for the future

[Photo: family members of the General Service Foundation based in Aspen, Colorado celebrate the 60th anniversary of the foundation.]

Milestone birthday celebrations are momentous occasions in all families. For many, this tradition carries over directly to the philanthropic programs they create. An increasing number of family foundations—and, in some cases, multi-generational donor advised funds—are using the occasion of a special anniversary to capture the founder’s and foundation’s legacy and to ground the foundation/fund and its future stewards in the history and values of the family. These celebrations may have the added benefits of inspiring the personal philanthropy and volunteer efforts of younger family members and other families, and of providing public attention and recognition of the work of your grantees and other nonprofits in your community. Despite their sometimes lengthy histories, family foundations evolve quickly—with new family members, staff, focus areas, and community circumstances—coming into the picture each year. With this in mind, there can be great value in “taking a moment” to remember why you do this and how you approach your giving, and to recognize the people and grantees that are critical to the foundation’s mission and objectives.