Determine your family’s specific interests and passions
Initially, your funding might be directed toward those organizations that you currently fund, such as an alumni association, church, children’s or grandchildren’s schools, or supporting the annual fund of your favorite charity. But if you’re interested in making a broader impact and learning more about the philanthropic landscape of your community, then a great place to start is by sitting down with all family members involved and creating an inventory of interests.
What are you passionate about? What problems would you like to see solved and/or alleviated in your community? Are there organizations in your community that have helped you or a family member and you would like to give back? Are you a family of entrepreneurs and you are interested in funding nonprofits that take an entrepreneurial approach to solving problems? What kind of legacy would you like to leave?
There are no wrong answers here. Think big and be willing to discuss all options. After going through this exercise, attempt to formulate a mission statement that will help guide your funding decisions. This is a great activity at an annual meeting for your foundation. At Westwood, we have helped family foundations organize a meeting to address purpose, interest and passion.