A First Foundation Blog

Is Our Wealth a Blessing or Burden?

If you have ever pondered this question, you are not alone – and you understand the weight of the question. For your consideration, and a possible answer to what is keeping you up at night, I would like to share First Foundation’s philosophy for building and inspiring Legacy Families.

Let’s start with the definition of a Legacy Family that Lee Hausner quoted in her book The Legacy Family.

Legacy Families are families who remain productive and contributive four to five generations past the original wealth creator.”

Research tells us that members of Legacy Families demonstrate what she calls the 4 Cs.

  1. Capacity….they add value to society.
  2. Competency…..they have skills and education.
  3. Connection….they feel connected to their ancestors and their descendants.
  4. Compassion ….they are generous with their time, talent, and treasure.

Now that we have a definition and an aspirational goal of creating a Legacy Family, the question is HOW?

Family philanthropy can provide a wonderful training ground to develop the 4 Cs above. Here are some examples that have proven beneficial.

  • Family vacations that add a day of service or schedule a family giving day partnering with a local charity.
  • Creating a Junior Foundation Board that empowers the next generation to learn how to vet organizations, make site visits, and work as a team to agree on distribution and properly manage assets.
  • Does your family know their legacy? Hire a company to interview family members and create a legacy video.
  • Ask older generations to mentor younger generations in the family, matching personalities and interests.
  • Create a Donor Advised Fund that allows individual discretionary grants. At Thanksgiving, spend time learning about the organization that each individual picked, why they chose the organization, and the impact of their gift.
  • Invest in next-gen training. Financial literacy is a great place to start. First Foundation can help provide you with educational content that meets children where they are at any age.

Investing time in these activities will create a family that adds value to society with generous giving, provides a safe training ground to learn about asset management and investing in organizations, creates family unity, and ultimately develops compassion for others as the family sees great need up close.

Empowering your family to help those less fortunate is a hero’s journey that will have impact for generations to come. To execute your family philanthropy plan, just writing checks might get the job done, but you may need a Family Foundation or Donor Advised Fund. First Foundation can help you navigate the best vehicle for your family and answer any questions along the way.


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