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Raising a Philanthropic Family

How your family can be more philanthropic

Some donors consider their philanthropy a private, individual activity. Family giving to charity, however, can offer a fulfilling experience unmatched by almost any other shared endeavor - especially for Catholics whose families are centered on faith. It is most certainly a journey of grace for donors!

Taking the time to identify the reasons to work together as a family in philanthropy is a crucial first step that makes many of the other decisions about family involvement, decision-making, and strategy easier. Some of the benefits philanthropic families have experienced include:
• A deepened connection to each other and to the outside world through a sense of shared enterprise
• A chance to test and express shared values
• An opportunity to strengthen and pass on a legacy
• An intergenerational common ground
• The challenge to make a significant difference
• An odyssey of real learning for all the participants For most families, working together effectively takes purposeful planning. While shared giving can bring you together, it also has the potential to create conflict.

Creating a family plan for philanthropy and teaching children and grandchildren about "personal sacrifice" or "giving back" is an ongoing process that can and should be sustained for generations. This is all part of your journey as a steward of the Catholic Church, and specifically, St. Joseph Church. Psalm 24 states, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it." 

We must recognize ourselves as stewards of God's earth, and everything in it. Our blessings, our wealth, our assets -- all ultimately belong to God. This is the fundamental principle of biblical stewardship: God owns everything; we are simply managers or administrators acting on His behalf. Read more about biblical stewardship.

Why do you want to include family in your philanthropy?

As you think about why you want to pass along your love of charitable giving, consider these reasons:

• Teaching the next generation about philanthropy and issues and organizations that matter
• Encouraging next generation members to give of their own resources
• Sharing personal philanthropic experiences and interests
• Recognizing and celebrating the family, its history, and its shared values
• Having fun together (there is real joy in giving!)

How can you give as a family?

There are many ways to give. Before choosing a vehicle we urge you to contact your legal or tax advisor(s) to ensure that you choose the option(s) that best suits your giving and planning needs.

DIRECT GIFTS to any qualified tax-exempt charitable organization – public charities, schools, churches, etc. – can include cash, stock, real estate, life insurance, artwork and other property. These gifts can also be IRA distributions or rollovers.  Learn more.

PLANNED GIFTS include bequests (a gift to a charitable organization via a will or trust); charitable gift annuities (a charitable gift of capital today, in exchange for a specified annuity payment to the donor or designated beneficiary); charitable lead trusts (the trust pays income to charities for a term of years, with principal typically passing to family members thereafter); and charitable remainder trusts (gifts of capital in trust for charitable purposes, with lifetime payments of income to family members or other non-charitable beneficiaries.  Learn more.

DONOR ADVISED FUND is fund typically established by an individual or family donor at a public charity such as a community foundation or financial institution. Donors “recommend” gifts, subject to the public charity’s formal approval. The public charity handles management and administrative details.  Learn more.

PRIVATE FOUNDATION is a foundation that receives most of its funds from and is usually subject to the control of an individual or family. They are typically endowed through one-time or regular gifts and must make charitable expenditures of at least 5% of the market value of their net investment assets each year in order to avoid tax penalty.

FAMILY FOUNDATION is not a legal entity distinct from a private foundation; this term refers to a private foundation that is strongly influenced by the original donor family, usually through participation as board members or trustees.

COMMUNITY FOUNDATION is a public foundation that receives donations from multiple private sources and manages them under community control for charitable purposes primarily focused on local needs. A community foundation’s endowment may consist of numerous donor-advised funds, a general fund over which the foundation has discretion, and other funds restricted to application for a specific charity or charities or for support of charitable efforts in a particular field such as education or youth development.

St. Joseph Parish offers additional resources for parishioners interested in family giving. Please contact us at (913) 631-5983 or email

More about ways to give > 


News Type: 
Donor Journey