The “Giving Pledge” to Ignite Philanthropy

A few weeks ago, more than three dozen billionaires signed up for The Giving Pledge, an effort by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett to encourage wealthy people to give at least half of their fortunes to charity.

According to Patrick Rooney, executive director and professor of Philanthropic Studies at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, the idea has both potential and challenges. He estimates that if everyone on the Forbes 400 fulfilled the pledge, $600 billion would go to charity. That’s about double the total amount of Americans’ current annual charitable giving, meaning that some careful planning will need to accompany the generosity.

With such a massive increase of dollars into charitable organizations, it’s incumbent on donors to work with their advisors and charities to structure gifts effectively in ways that can make the greatest difference. Some of the smallest nonprofits, for example, simply may not have the administrative capacity to manage large gifts.

However you intend to express your philanthropic interests, I suggest sharing your thinking — and your charitable volunteer work — with your children. You will find this can both enhance your family relationships and lay the foundation for a rich legacy of giving.

If you are looking for more inspiration, you may want to read: The Ultimate Gift by Jim Stovall, The Giving Family: Raising Our Children to Help Others by Susan Crites Price or The Financially Intelligent Parent: 8 Steps To Raising Successful, Generous, Responsible Children by Eileen and Jon Gallo.

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