Giving together can unite your family across generations, geographic areas, and life situations. No matter the age of your children, integrating philanthropy into your family is a great opportunity to pass on healthy attitudes about money matters and helping others.
Charles Grymes and Catherine Ring have a donor-established fund with the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia through our Family Giving Program. We recently asked them to share some thoughts on how this fund helps them build a legacy of giving for their entire family.
Why did you choose to partner with the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia on your philanthropy?
We would like to credit a friend, Jake Haun, one of the founders of a community foundation in the Shenandoah Valley, for introducing us to the concept. In turn, we have encouraged not just family but also recommended to our friends to consider the benefits of charitable donations through the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia. We chose to work with the Foundation to establish a donor-directed fund, as well as to donate to funds created by the Foundation to "do good" in the community. The Community Foundation does the “oh-so-essential homework” required to identify organizations that could use donations effectively. It also maintains assets and distributes donations as directed by our family, simplifying the process for us.
Why was it important to establish a fund through the Family Giving Program at the Community Foundation?
The Foundation makes it easy to maximize the annual tax benefits of making donations while allowing some finer control over the timing of gifts. Our goal was to establish a family tradition of making grants, but that required educating ourselves, our children, and now our grandchildren on how to be philanthropic and discovering our comfort level in gifting away assets before we die. The flexibility of the Family Giving Program has allowed us time to realize how to create a new pattern of behavior, shifting from decades of trying to accumulate assets to beginning to distribute them.
Can you tell us about that fund – how do you use it to support the community?
We focus our grants to provide support for local organizations with which we have a personal relationship, and on issues for which we have a particular concern. Our small grants add capacity so non-government organizations can maintain and expand what they are doing, but occasionally we provide a grant for a specific project that needs an angel in order to get started or completed. For contributions made to funds managed by the Foundation, we rely upon their expertise to distribute the funds; we trust the Foundation's judgment.
What does the Family Giving Program fund mean to you and your family legacy?
For years, financial planning consisted of ensuring we would have enough money to stay out of the poorhouse during our lifetimes. We were fortunate and finally figured out that our money would outlive us rather than the other way around. It has been an important tradition to leave some legacy directly to the children, but we also wanted to do good while still here on Earth. We have concluded that our best legacy will not be the small grants that we make, but in creating an ethos for our descendants to continuously be generous.
If you’re interested in creating a legacy of giving for your family, specific to your charitable goals that will be woven in the fabric of Northern Virginia for years to come please visit cfnova.org/giving-and-investing/family-giving-program.
For more information, you can also download our Family Giving Program brochure.