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JCF Blog

Family Philanthropy - What is it?

Posted by: Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford on 11/2/2012
There is a “buzz” about family philanthropy circulating in the community. That tells me that there is a profound desire for many of us to work with our families in creating a legacy of giving that lasts generations.

What exactly is family philanthropy? In the broadest sense, family philanthropy is the practice of philanthropy as a family unit. While the Jewish Community Foundation has been “doing” family philanthropy since its creation forty years ago, it was the advent of donor advised funds in the mid nineties that brought it to the forefront- at the Foundation and around the country. Donor advised funds allow donors to recommend grants from a centralized fund to qualified charities of their choice. Donors may do this as individuals, couples or families. These types of funds lend themselves to opening a family philanthropy conversation with children and grandchildren.

What does family philanthropy actually look like? It may be a professional facilitating a meeting with multiple generations of a family to discuss a vision for their grant making or passing down values. It may be a husband and wife talking to their teenage children about why they give charitably. It may be a child talking to her grandparents about their history and why they made certain life choices.

To start a family philanthropy tradition, consider your responses to these questions:
Do you have a tradition of charitable giving in your family?
How did you learn about tzedakah?

When did you start contributing to Jewish causes?
Tell us what your family does.

The Hartford Jewish community has been selected to participate in a national program sponsored by 21/64, the non-profit consulting division of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, to engage multigenerational donor families, particularly the adult next generation family members, around the values of Jewish philanthropy, what that means for each particular family, and the unique generational lens each member of the family brings to the discussion of Jewish communal life and philanthropy.

Deborah Rothstein is the Vice President Philanthropy at the Jewish Community Foundation. For more information regarding the Multigenerational Family Philanthropy Program, please contact Deborah, 860.523.7460 or, or Beth Appleman, Vice President of Development, Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, at 860.727.6123 or
(L to R) Deborah Rothstein and Beth Appleman

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This could not possbily have been more helpful!
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Hey very interesting blog!
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