The Whys and Hows of Family Philanthropy
“Our children and grandchildren are our elders in universe time.” – Buckminster Fuller
Lisa Parker, president of the Lawrence Welk Family Foundation and Mr. Welk’s granddaughter, recently shared Mr. Fuller’s words with a group of donors at a Community Foundation event focused on family philanthropy. Lisa discussed many whys and hows related to family giving, noting that children as young as four years old can begin to understand charitable concepts, and they can often inspire older, possibly jaded generations to lead a more generous life.
Lisa candidly described the ups and downs of her family’s philanthropic journey, describing struggles related to age differences and geographic dispersion, and the success of the first documented junior board in family philanthropy. Over the past several years Lisa has organized a “Cuzapalooza” (as in “cousins”), an annual family reunion that coincides with the Foundation’s annual board meeting and includes grantmaking, fundraising and volunteer activities for the great-grandchildren of Lawrence Welk.
Some of Lisa's “whys” behind family giving:
- The Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey says those who give their time or money are 43 percent more likely to be happy than those who do not.
- The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley reports that the euphoria felt by those engaged in charitable activity mimics a mild version of a morphine high, often referred to as “helper’s high.”
- According to Lisa and U.S. News, altruistic teens who volunteer receive better grades, and are less likely to abuse drugs, become pregnant or drop out of high school.
Some of Lisa's “hows” of family giving:
- Site Visits: Young givers should have fun with their giving, and taking them to visit nonprofit organizations gives them a front-row seat to see the real superheroes at work in our world. We recommend using Kansas City’s Nonprofit Search to find organizations you can visit.
- Grantmaking as a Family: Involve your children in your giving decisions. Tell them why you choose to support some organizations over others, and ask for their opinions. The next generation is known for their tech-savvy ways, so if you have a charitable giving account at the Community Foundation, let them log in to your fund to see your giving history and encourage them to suggest grants of their own.
- Let Us Help You: If you are looking for unique, personalized ways to get your family involved in giving, let us lend you a hand on that journey. Whether you need help starting the conversation or defining your family’s philanthropic values, we can help you every step of the way. You can get started right away with our online Giving Guide.
To see more photos from the event, check out our Facebook page.
Authored by: Sidney Peterson, Communications & Events Specialist