Legacy

Why some philanthropists are letting their teenagers decide how to spend donations

At a charitable board meeting, members are invited to propose their visions for the future distribution of the fund. Sounds normal, except these are young teens.

Each teen was given a $10,000 budget – presenting to their grandparents, who established the foundation decades earlier.

“You need to expose children to philanthropy early, so they learn and share in the family’s goals and values of giving back,” says Judy Spalthoff, UBS’s head of Family Advisory and Philanthropy Services Americas, of the model her team uses to advise families. A similar initiative is under way at the Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation in Studio City, California, where its junior board comprises family members aged eight to 18, each given $2,000 per year to make one or two grants to an appropriate organization of their choice.

It’s part of a culture change in family giving that is helping bridge the growing gap between older generations and today’s more socially conscious, worldly Gen Xers and millennials who are coming of age and increasingly taking leadership roles in their clan’s charity. Today, more than 40,000 family foundations represent more than $300 billion in charitable wealth. And family funds represent about 50 percent of all private foundations in this country, according to the Council on Foundations.

While many paths exist for donating money with equally compelling tax breaks, what makes the family fund especially attractive is that it gives people more control over their giving with fewer restrictions, and it’s an opportunity to unite generations around a shared cause and shape their family’s legacy.

If you’re interested in opening a Giving Fund for your family, you can do that in just a few minutes.

Read the full story at Robb Report.
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