Make Summer Count: Explore the Opportunities of Family Philanthropy

Sarah NavranIndividual & Family Giving

Whether going on a trip or hosting a backyard barbecue, summer is an excellent time for families to connect and make memories. Another activity families can do together this summer is philanthropy. Taking time to explore your family’s philanthropy can be a great way to build stronger relationships while contributing to something meaningful. Here at the Community Foundation, we work with many philanthropists who want to intentionally involve the next generation in their family’s philanthropic vision. We typically suggest to start weaving in philanthropy in your everyday actions and building from there. Is your family looking for ways to give back this summer? Here are a few ideas for your planning.

Include gratitude practices in family conversations. By focusing on the positive aspects of life and expressing appreciation for what you have, gratitude helps instill compassion and empathy. Gratitude practices help identify causes your family cares about, encouraging involvement to make a difference in the lives of others. One way to incorporate family gratitude practices into everyday life is to discuss one thing each person is grateful for that day at the dinner table.

Volunteering as a family. Volunteering as a family teaches children the value of helping others by showing a tangible impact. There are many opportunities to give back to your local community alongside your family, such as assisting neighbors with a garden or organizing a food pantry. On a larger scale, Kansas City is home to many impactful charitable organizations with volunteer opportunities. Visit the Community Foundation’s Nonprofit Search or check out the links below to explore nonprofits.

Create a fundraiser unique to your family. Fundraising as a family is a fun and rewarding way to spend time together while raising money for charitable causes. One example could be to host a lemonade stand. Find a spot in your neighborhood or local community, let the children make the signs and lemonade mixtures, and then discuss where the proceeds will go as a family. This collaboration will excite the community members to donate and may inspire additional fundraising efforts. Other fundraising ideas for the whole family include car washes, bake sales and yard sales.

Help others get back to school. As we reach the mid-point of summer, it’s no surprise to spot back-to-school supplies lining the store shelves. While your kids eagerly pick out their notebooks and pencils, why not inspire them to compile a backpack with supplies to donate? Across the nation, numerous nonprofit organizations run backpack drives and similar programs that connect children in need with essential school supplies. Some ideas of where to start looking for a program to get involved with include schools, after-school clubs and religious organizations.

Open a donor-advised fund to organize your family’s giving. Donor-advised funds are an excellent way to positively impact the world as a family and leave a legacy of generosity for the next generation of philanthropists. The Community Foundation’s donor portal is a user-friendly platform, allowing 24/7 access to your fund and the ability for parents to show their children the family’s granting history right from their fingertips. By setting assets aside for charitable giving, your family can make giving part of your regular routine.

Are you interested in exploring additional family philanthropic activities? Our staff at the Community Foundation is here to help. Contact a philanthropic advisor with any questions at

Authored by: Jenny Erdman, Senior Philanthropic Advisor