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Section 1: Resource 4

Donor Legacy and Intent

A Donor Legacy Statement provides an opportunity to communicate to those who will work with you — and those who may provide leadership in the future having never met you. The statement may speak to donor vision, the passion behind the idea for the foundation and its work, the values that transcend family difference, and the deepest hopes for the foundation and the giving family.

Some entrepreneurs may be uncomfortable with such activities and they might not be part of a family culture that promotes such conversations. However, a simple written statement — however informal — can a source of inspiration and commitment among extended family members and others, now and well into the future.

Here you will find additional perspectives and tips for describing and sharing donor legacy and intent. For a wide variety of additional sample statements and other resources, current NCFP Friends are invited to login to NCFP's Family Philanthropy Online Knowledge Center.

Read (5 minutes)
Donor Legacy Statements, Values Statements, and Ethical Wills Donor legacy statements, values statements and ethical wills have joined bylaws and mission statements as important documents for describing a family’s philanthropic activities and hopes.
Read (15 minutes)
A family establishes a statement of legacy This case study from Living the Legacy describes the process the family engaged in to developy a statement of shared family legacy.
Read (30 minutes)
Passion: Discovering Meaning in Your Philanthropy This primer from The Philanthropic Initiative is intended to help families and donors to reflect upon your strongest and deepest feelings about what you want to accomplish with your giving, and how this connects to your satisfaction as a philanthropist. Stories and examples are included to illustrate how individuals have identified their own philanthropic passions.
Tune-in (60 minutes)
What I wish my parents had told me: An interview with Susan Packard Orr Susan Packard Orr shares the seven keys things she wishes her parents would have told her about their philanthropic work in hopes that other families may see the value in discussing these issues while the founders are still present.
Tune-in (60 minutes)
Seeding Family Tradition Donor legacy statements and ethical wills have joined bylaws, values statements and mission statements as important documents for describing a family’s philanthropic activities and dreams.
Do (60 minutes)
Picture Your Legacy Utilize a set of image cards to guide your family towards articulating their vision of what they hope to achieve through giving. This is a fun and interactive activity created by 21/64 that can be done with the whole family.
Do (90+ minutes)

granddad-grandkidsAsk your grandchildren to interview you

Completing the Activity: Have your grandchildren (or great-grandchildren!) or the family's resident historian, interview you about your life and interests. Check out the Legacy Project for a complete list of activities and guides and for questions and other tools for building closer relationships between generations in your family.

Do (90+ minutes)
The Grandparent Legacy Project Read and hear stories of 15 individuals and couples who describe how they conveyed their philanthropic legacies. Then, utilize the corresponding workbook to conduct an interview of your own with your family.
Do (90+ minutes)
Preparing for a Board Retreat on Donor Legacy Get started in the process of establishing your donor legacy statement through conversations with your board of directors. This guide offers suggestions for planning a successful retreat and resources to tap, compiled by NCFP staff.