Wonderful benefits await you when you decide to share the process of grantmaking with members of your family. You’ll have the opportunity to contribute to society in ways few ever experience and at the same time form new family bonds, based on a common purpose, that can endure for generations With this decision also comes a tremendous personal responsibility to serve the public good with your private wealth.
To help you think through the process, start by writing down your goals and objectives for your philanthropy and the results you would like to see for your community and for your family. Then discuss your plans with your family members so they are engaged from the outset.
Once you identify your goals, that will help you with your next key decision which is choosing the type of charitable giving vehicle you will use. These days there are more choices than ever. For example:
- Private Foundation—a donor family creates an endowment from which to make grants. The family maintains control of the grantmaking and manages the assets.
- Donor Advised Fund—a donor family can donate to a fund in a community foundation, federated giving organization or financial services firm, takes the tax deduction immediately and then advises the organization later on what charitable organizations to support.
- Family Businesses—families can create a corporate giving program or a corporate foundation
- Giving Circle—individual donors or families can pool their money with others to make charitable gifts from the income on the principle.
The vehicle you choose should be based on both on your goals and the amount of assets you have to give. It’s best to consult a financial advisor or attorney familiar with charitable vehicles before making a final decision.
Once you know how you will structure your giving, you’ll want to consider issues such as creating a mission, deciding how grantmaking decisions will be made and by whom, and a host of other topics.
For more detailed information, see our constituency section on Family Giving.