A small holiday experiment

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Have you wondered whether you and your family would enjoy being philanthropists?  If so, may we use this holiday season to suggest a small experiment:

When you are together with your family on Thanksgiving, give each person cash with the instructions that they are to give it away before Christmas.  Choose any dollar amount that fits your budget, whether $25, $100, $1,000…the dollar amount really doesn’t matter.  It’s what they do with it that counts.

And it doesn’t necessarily have to be to a charity.  Maybe they want to pay it forward in the coffee drive-thru.  Maybe they want to pay for the groceries of the WIC family in their checkout line at the store.

Then, when you’re all together for Christmas, they are to share with the family a) which charity (or charities) they selected and b) why.

It’s as simple as that.  No rules, no conditions – just give it away.

One of our board members did this with the kids when they were college-age and he was pleasantly surprised and enlightened by their choices.

I think you’ll be surprised at the passion and intensity of the kids’ choices as well as the warm feelings you’ll all experience.

If you like, you can continue the experiment, maybe even up the ante.  Or you can invite the Community Foundation of Grundy County to meet with you and your family to learn how our services can best serve your family to grow this one small experiment into a lifetime of strategic philanthropy.

Wouldn’t it be great to watch the excitement grow as the family’s philanthropy meeting date approaches?

This is the season of excitement and anticipation – we wish you all every opportunity to enjoy it!


Julianne Buck is the Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Grundy County in Morris, Illinois. During her 15-year tenure, she has taken the organization’s assets from $0 to $8 million, with another $4 million expected by year-end. You can contact her via cfgrundycounty.com or [email protected]