Many donors choose to establish a family foundation, donor-advised fund, or other family giving vehicle for the specific goal of engaging their children and future generations in shared family philanthropy. This involvement does not always happen in the ways donors expect. Think about the young adults that have a relationship to your family’s philanthropy. Are these family members actively engaged in the work of the foundation or fund? Do they enjoy their involvement in the family philanthropy? Is it accessible to them?
Do not despair if the answer to these questions is “not really” or “not yet.” There are many ways that young adults can become engaged in family philanthropy, and it may take time and experimentation to determine what works best for your family.
Families with the most success in engaging new philanthropists are those that prepare younger family members for philanthropy in general—not for a specific role within it. Not all family members will want or be able to serve as a board member, but they can always be charitable. Equip your next generation, then, with the values and the skills for effective family philanthropy, however they may serve.
Interested in reading stories of families who have found successful ways to engage the next generation and youth in family philanthropy? Check out our Igniting the Spark series of case studies, as well as our Passages Issue Brief, Igniting the Spark - Creating Effective Next Gen Boards.
What has worked for you? Send your suggestions to us via the Contact Us page.