By Sara Beggs, ASF
If you’re passionate about giving, it’s likely you want your own kids to follow suit. Isn’t that one of the key reasons family foundations are created? And, while some people want their kids to care about a particular cause, many donors simply want their children and grandchildren to care about something. Anything.
Whether you have millions to give away or something significantly smaller, teaching kids to care about something other than themselves is a worthwhile cause. As an ASF staff member, I don’t have IRS regulations demanding that I give out 5% a year, nor do I have millions of dollars to give away, but I sure want my kids to care about their community, both locally and internationally.
So, several years ago, I along with several friends started a group named Blooming Kids for Kindness. While we encourage the entire family to participate and don’t underestimate the value of that, it’s clear to me that some of the greatest enjoyment with our giving comes when we volunteer with friends.
Take our latest project of Lemonade Day, for example. Imagine 14 kids, ages 4-11, sitting together with their parents for 1.5 hours brainstorming stand names, determining optimal locations, testing recipes, calculating costs, estimating sales, and choosing charities that would receive all the profits. Add to this: tie-dying shirts for a common look, squeezing 336 lemons, painting our lemonade stand, and creating flyers. It was a boat-load of work!
But, in the end, even my nine-year-old daughter, who stood for 7.5 hours on hot blacktop selling 290 cups of fresh squeezed lemonade to raise $702, got in the car at the end of the day and said, “That was fun!” And, of course, Habitat for Humanity and Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, a local food pantry, were delighted that their young donors brought them each $283.
Could we have done it as a family? Sure. But was giving back to their community a whole lot more fun because they did it with family AND friends? Absolutely.
You might have a formal structure of a foundation, but it doesn’t mean the foundation is the only way you can engage younger generations. Consider that young people will be more inclined to give to their communities if they have a blast while doing it, and for many, doing it with friends will be one of the keys to success.
Senior Program Manager Sara Beggs currently focuses her time and energy on ASF’s Getting to Impact Initiative, an effort to equip ASF members with the information and inspiration to achieve greater impact over time. Her greatest philanthropic joy is participation in Blooming Kids for Kindness, a group of ten families that encourage their children to care about their communities and recognize that each can make a difference through local and international volunteer and fundraising activities.