A First Foundation Blog

Investing in Your Family

2 minute read

An effective approach to wealth management includes building a family culture and creating cohesion. Clients that truly want to invest in building a family legacy utilize our Philanthropy Services group when they are:

  • Concerned about the transition of family wealth.
  • Considering how to pass their values.
  • Preparing their children so money can be a force for good in their lives.
  • Exploring the different ways to be philanthropic.
  • Contemplating the legacy they would like to leave.

Family meetings can be a great starting point to begin working on the list above. Making this valuable investment in conducting a regularly scheduled family meeting is one that almost always pays off. Our team is prepared to guide your family through their first family meeting, or offer expertise to enhance ongoing family meetings. Successful families use a variety of tools to build family culture and develop cohesion. It starts with providing the space to begin preparing heirs for the responsibilities ahead, and the peace of mind you will feel as you see your family grow together.

Our professional facilitators help families prepare the agenda and, if requested, facilitate the meeting, which enhances the family communication. Here is a glimpse into one of the exercises that we use working with multigenerational families.

Exercise Intention

Sparking thoughtful conversations. Building communication, trust, and insight.

Exercise Set Up
  • We give each person a chance to do the exercise individually before comparing and discussing his or her selections.
  • We set some ground rules. Invite family members to decide if they prefer to choose their cards in silence, or would like to allow for discussion and debate as they go along.
  • Gain commitment that this is a safe space free of criticism of anyone’s choices or trying to talk them out of their selections. (Having our team as a facilitator helps tremendously here.)
Finding Your Core Values
  • Step 1: Lay out all of the Value cards. Pull out any cards that inspire you and lay them in front of you

Investing in family 1

  • Step 2: Select the top three values that inspire you the most. To help you decide, consider this statement:

“If (Value 1), (Value 2), and (Value 3) were flourishing in the world, it would address many of the problems I care about.”

Investing in family 2

  • Step 3: Make a note of your selection or take a photo of the cards.
  • Step 4: Put all cards back on the table and let the next person go through steps 1-3.

Notice similarities and differences. Have each person share why the values they chose are meaningful to them. Discuss what you’ve learned in terms of your past, present, or future.


Understanding each individual family member’s motivations and values, and learning more about each other’s values, deepens relationships and helps to guide the direction for future family meetings. Often we hear family members say, “I never knew that about you.”

If you are interested in scheduling a family meeting to begin building communication, trust, and cohesion, please ask your wealth manager to schedule time with our philanthropy services team.


Philanthropy Services provided by First Foundation Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender.

Marty Dutch, Vice President, Philanthropy Services
About the Author
Marty Dutch, Vice President, Philanthropy Services
Ms. Dutch serves as vice president for First Foundation’s consulting group. In this role, she manages our Supporting Our Communities initiative – a program that helps nonprofits strengthen their organizational and fundraising capacities through cash grants and in-kind consulting services. Prior to joining First Foundation, Ms. Dutch served as Regional Director with The Heritage Institute. In this role, she guided ultra-high-net-worth families through the multigenerational planning process – seeking to provide family unity, growth and development across generations. Before following her passion for philanthropy into the consulting field, Ms. Dutch spent more than 25 years in marketing and sales for Johnson & Johnson and various promotion agencies in Southern California. Ms. Dutch is an active member of Orange County’s philanthropic community. She is a founding board member of Orangewood PALS, an auxiliary of Orangewood Children’s Foundation and serves on the Safe Family Board for Olive Crest. Ms. Dutch is also a member of the Monkey Business Café Advisory Board; Endowment Committee for the Anaheim YMCA; AIP Orange County Board Member and serves on the National Board of Advisors in Philanthropy. Ms. Dutch received her Bachelors of Arts degree in Speech Communication from San Diego State University. Read more