The Goal of Generational Philanthropy

Man watering plant image, family legacyI worked with a family with its center goal using its financial and social wealth to make a difference in the world at large through concentrated philanthropic efforts. The family’s financial wealth was built generations ago. Individual wealth of the family members no longer exists across the board at the level of the founders. What endures is a well funded philanthropic foundation whose goal is to implement change in very specific areas – education and faith.

The founders of the business that created the foundation were hard working and grateful for the ability to support themselves through their endeavor. They believed what Teddy Roosevelt said when he enacted the federal gift tax – “The transmission of enormous wealth to young men does not do them any real service and is of great and genuine detriment to the community at large.”

The third generation is a now steward of that wealth and focuses it on making a difference in these areas. Even though the family created significant wealth through its entrepenruial efforts, its overriding value was: to whom much has been given, much is expected and it is better to give than to receive.

It is interesting that one family member in the third generation who has achieved significant wealth from his own entrepreneurial activities has also begun his own philanthropic legacy (in addition to carrying on the family legacy). The difference in the goals is that with the founders, the goal was to build the wealth and then, when they accomplished far more than they could ever have contemplated, the goal became to give it away. The oldest son’s goals became to achieve significant wealth and give it away. While his children were growing up, the dinner table conversation was focused on both building wealth and the philanthropic impact of that wealth. The legacy of philanthropy – three generations later – is continuing. The youngest generation now wants to focus on building significant wealth again so their legacy of philanthropy can be individualized if they themselves create the wealth they are giving away.

Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning. She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about. Annino recently released her new book, “It’s More Than Money, Protect Your Legacy” available at To download Annino’s FREE eBook, Estate Planning 101 visit,

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