Our Kids and Philanthropy

For many of us, teaching our kids about philanthropy is part and parcel of helping them grow into being a kind and empathetic person. We have many Fundholders who make their granting decisions as a family: parents and children sitting around the dining room table sharing their passions and priorities. One family rotates their Fund’s granting decisions annually between siblings. We also have parents and grandparents who set up a named fund for each of their children and grandchildren to make charity grants. 

I am one such parent. I set up a fund in my daughter’s name. (We are at the stage where she “hates” her full first name, so I am not going to mention the Fund by name.) It has been building with a monthly contribution for the past four years. By the time my daughter is a young adult she will have her own Donor Advised Fund to support the causes she cares about. Currently she has elected to support the Truth & Reconciliation Community Fund. 

I have been thinking about what to do in the interim to help her develop her interests and compassion. At this time of year it seems especially important to support her philanthropic interests as she is about to be the beneficiary of a number of generous gifts. So I gave Kate the GIVE Oakville catalogue to read and asked her to circle her top three charities that we could support. 

I am pretty sure that the Lions Foundation Dog Guides will be top ranked. My daughter is a dog lover and we have a family member, Zora, who is a “career change” Guide Dog. 

I am also wondering what else she will choose. She has attended the Humane Society and YMCA summer camps, volunteered at Kerr Street Mission and St. Luke’s, seen live performances by ArtHouse, Oakville Symphony, and the CCAH Steel pan drummers, participated in Community Classroom at school, and been my ride along when I have dropped off donations to local charities. She is aspiring to be a doctor and work at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital and has great concern for anyone suffering from physical or mental health challenges. 

Teaching local philanthropy is something that The Foundation has been honoured to support at a number of private schools like Appleby and Rotherglen, that both hold funds with us. Some Fundholders may recall that two years ago we launched a Youth Philanthropy initiative which was piloted at three Oakville public high schools. Each school chose their own student advisory group who researched the charities in their local community and then recommended their charity selections to The Foundation. The students’ recommendation had to address one of the issues raised in our 2018 Vital Youth report. The three school groups reported on their selections at our 2019 AGM and we had hoped to expand this initiative in 2020, but the impact of COVID-19 on schools and extracurricular activities required us to move in a new direction. 

Frances Pace, our Director of Fundholder and Community Engagement, is currently working with the two public school boards to create a local Youth Philanthropy Council with virtual representation from each local high school. The Council will set its own priorities using the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and select local charities to make a proposal, then award grants. 

I am excited to see this initiative move forward next year and have a local philanthropic initiative directed by youth focused on our community. Stay tuned as our Team will be sharing more in the New Year. 

I would be thrilled to receive your family philanthropy stories and showcase them next month in a Holiday blog. I think we are all in the mood for more positive news of “neighbours helping neighbours” and “families helping families.” I can be reached at Wendy@theocf.org

Warm regards