Why does your family give?

This question is central to the work you do — because it helps understand the motivations behind your foundation’s mission.

Over the past two decades, we’ve had conversations with hundreds of foundation donors and founders — and we’ve found that these family leaders most frequently mention at least one of the following six personal experiences as inspiration for their philanthropy:

  1. Faith and Spirituality. Every religious or faith tradition includes some tenet urging concern for others.
  2. Traditions. Many founders talk about family traditions that shape their charitable conscience.
  3. Mentors. Most of us can point to people who had a profound impact on our lives.
  4. Personal Interests and Experiences. Many founders note that they became engaged in philanthropy because of a special, personally-important issue or event.
  5. Community Involvement and Volunteering. Entrepreneurs who go on to become generous philanthropists often were active in their communities long before they had the wealth to make significant financial gifts.
  6. Business Skills and Experiences. Some new donors have their interest sparked by a business colleague who was already an active donor and who shared their enthusiasm and interest.

Read the full article about motivations for family philanthropy by Virginia Esposito at the National Center for Family Philanthropy.