After a 30+ year career in the Natural Health Product industry, I sold my business with the goal of devoting more time to my family and to some personal passions that had always taken a back seat to my work re-elated obligations.
Neither of those desires are unique to my situation. Many entrepreneurs have similar retirement aspirations, with giving back being another common and important theme.
In my case, I wanted to involve my children in crafting a way for us to give back. Not only to encourage them to think beyond their own needs, but to increase their awareness of the many worthy causes that are in need of financial support.
As part of an initial family discussion, we decided to start by pool the money that we would normally spend on Christmas gifts for each other, and use those funds to make an annual charitable donation. For our next discussion, everyone was to come prepared to pitch their preferred charity to the group.
It was a lively conversation, and as a way to break a tie, we divided the money between what we felt were the two most deserving charities. The suggestions ranged from global environmental initiatives, to some very local socially conscious causes. I have three daughters in varying stages of completing university degrees, so it was fun to share and to hear their ideas.
Since then, things have evolved a bit further. We still pool the funds that in previous years would have gone towards Christmas gifts, but we also include a donation from the proceeds of the sale of my business, along with establishing the Danniels Family Foundation.
The funds in the foundation are administered with the help of Canada Gives. While our primary focus are Canadian based charities, we will look beyond our borders if there’ a compelling cause. Canada Gives works with philanthropic foundations and not only administers their actual donations, they also connect donors with charities that have objectives that align with their own.
As we move forward, we are going to adjust things further. The plan is to make a more substantial donation, again through Canada Gives, that would act as the principal amount designed to generate ongoing revenue. The investment proceeds of that principal would become the annual giving amount for the foundation.
Over time, my involvement will be reduced and my daughters will manage the foundation. The intention is for them to become more investment minded and financially astute, so that the Foundation’s returns can be maximized and the scope of our giving increased.
I like where this is headed and it feels like a nice win-win. My daughters can share in a common mission, refine some valuable life skills along the way, and help some very worthwhile causes get a bit more traction in their quest to complete their mission.
We live in interesting times and there is no shortage of challenges that need to be addressed. Through our family foundation, and at least in some small way, we’re trying to contribute to the common good and to be part of the solution. Perhaps more importantly, it’s also helping to shape the thinking of three passionate young women so that they can make their own positive contributions for years to come.