May 14, 2024
Swirski Family Fund

The combination of compassion and action can leave an enduring legacy. Indeed, one individual’s goodwill can achieve more than short-term relief—it can create a ripple effect of generosity. Take Sandra Swirski, who recently described how gratitude for philanthropy inspired her to launch a career in philanthropy law and the Swirski Family Fund with the Community Foundation’s Family Giving Program.

The Path to Philanthropy

Sandra’s journey into philanthropy began with others’ generosity. Grant programs like the Rotary Grant Scholarship enabled her to pursue a college education, during which she was involved with philanthropic sorority activities, including fundraising for the Ronald McDonald House charity.

Sandra explained that while she enjoyed these activities and was grateful for her scholarship, she was unaware of the deeper implications. Only after graduating did she realize that the opportunities she had received and the support she gathered for RMH were possible due to the donors’ generosity. Today, her faith and a deep appreciation for the generosity she experienced fuel her dedication to give back.

Sandra has worked at the intersection of government, policy, and philanthropy for over 20 years. From her early career in tax law to her time in the Senate, she dedicated herself to refining charitable giving tax codes so they were more efficient, fair, and equitable. Doing so grew her passion, and she eventually founded a consulting firm to guide charities through the complex policies around philanthropy. In her work with donors, Sandra recognized the motivations and inspirations that drove them and their work with communities. 

Today’s Philanthropy and The Swirski Family Fund

Through her work in the philanthropic space, Sandra saw firsthand the skepticism and curiosity swirling around major donations, especially university endowments. She noted that much of the skepticism is directed toward the donors—do they have a separate agenda? Although curiosity can be harmless, Sandra urged outsiders to base scrutiny on factual data, pointing to the significant contributions made by donor-advised funds (especially during crises).

The Swirski Family Fund—a pass-through, donor-advised fund providing direct grants to organizations exempt from federal taxation—is a deliberate effort to cultivate a legacy of giving in Sandra's family. It involves her adult children in philanthropy, connecting them to their roots and inspiring them to identify causes close to their hearts. Establishing the fund through the Community Foundation allowed Sandra to tap into local expertise and support community nonprofits. The fund is now an anchor that fosters a community connection.

Opportunities for Financial Advisors

Sandra's story extends beyond the Swirski family. She sees untapped opportunities in financial advisors who do not yet incorporate charitable legacy planning into their services. Yet by partnering with community foundations, advisors can offer clients a comprehensive wealth management solution that facilitates their philanthropic goals.

The Community Foundation’s Professional Advisors Network offers such an opportunity. Welcoming all professional advisors in the Northern Virginia area, our network provides curated resources and meaningful partnerships to help meet the charitable goals of your clients or organizations.

Learn More About Family Philanthropic Opportunities 

The Swirski Family Fund is an inspiring example of how passionate individuals can make a lasting difference in our community. Contact our philanthropic team or read about our Family Giving program to learn how your family can contribute to local needs and a legacy of giving.