The Schwab Fund for Charitable Giving has changed its name to Schwab Charitable to coincide with the rollout of their new charitable reminder trust services. They quote me a couple of times in the current issue of their newsletter, which announces the service offering.
I believe very strongly in the concept that philanthropy is one of the best themes around which families can come together to discuss their most deeply held values and beliefs. Philanthropy is a wonderful vessel for parents to use to pass their values onto their children. The summer issue of the Schwab Charitable newsletter provides nice coverage of this concept.
Some research suggests that philanthropy is not just a practice that families should consider, but in fact, it is something they must practice if they want any semblance of intergenerational cohesion.
I’m off to talk to a group of high school students about philanthropy. I look forward to sharing the experience with you next week.
I agree that philanthropy must be practiced. I also think service needs to be strategic, and practiced. I see a lot of random volunteering, but not a lot of volunteering in on-going projects intended to achieve a long term goal.
Here’s an example.
Yesterday I visited a Chicago park district site and observed a tutor/mentor program in action. This program is unique because the tutors were 8th grade kids from an affluent Chicago suburb. The kids were elementary school kids who live in inner city Chicago. What I observed was a wonderful and enriching interaction. Both groups of kids benefited.
As I talked to the program leader I learned that this has been going on for 8 years. That means kids who started doing this 8 years ago now might be finishing college.
I also learned that the leader of this program operates from her house, does not get paid, and has to cart the supplies for the program to the park district every Saturday morning in a grocery cart. She also leads week day sessions at a library.
I just could not understand why, after 8 years, the service these kids were doing had not led to an understanding among them, and the adults in their community, of how important this program was, and how much they need to reach out and support it with donations and with leadership.
My point is that while this is a wonderful volunteer activity, the leaders have not been strategic in teaching the kids to grow into leaders who help this program survive (with donations, leadership, volunteer time, etc.) or who recognize that this type of program should be operating in many places, and connecting hundreds of suburban youth with inner city kids.
I’m hosting a conference on Nov. 30 in Chicago to talk about the challenges facing tutor/mentor programs, and the opportunities to collaborate to help them grow.(http://www.tutormentorconference.bigstep.com ) I am looking for people to blog this topic in December, with a goal of creating a greater understanding of why tutoring/mentoring is important, and of encouraging some donors to send money to programs like I visited yesterday.
I hope you’ll help.
I heartily agree with your post, Sean, and with Dan’s comment. There has been little strategic thinking on how to make a difference — with our lives, or with the money we make or inherit. It’s starting to happen, but slowly. In fact, one of the central ideas of the New Radicals is that ‘doing good’ is an integral part of our lives, not something we do after work. I see a huge movement stirring… people moving across the landscape, yet largely unknown to one another. Very interesting times ahead. Keep up the good work!