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.
- Capacity….they add value to society.
- Competency…..they have skills and education.
- Connection….they feel connected to their ancestors and their descendants.
- 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.