Building a Tradition of Philanthropy

Research shows that generosity, and the behaviors that indicate individuals are truly giving back to their communities, is often shaped early in life. Children that see these behaviors as they are growing up, tend to become generous, engaged citizens, that make a difference in their communities- and the world. I think most of us want our children to grow up with these values, but may not be entirely sure how to make that happen.

The Colorado Nonprofit Association is hosting a breakfast presentation on December 4, featuring nationally renowned expert on this topic. Susan Crites Price, author of The Family That Gives Together, will share tips for nonprofits and the public to engage young people in philanthropy. If you want to be part of that special conversation, go to for more information.

There are many exciting projects in play right now, in Colorado and across the country, that are designed to create opportunity for young people to become involved in philanthropy – and I thought you might be interested in knowing about some of them.

Please feel free to read a longer article about this topic: Building a Tradition of Philanthropy when you have a chance, but here are a few examples of activities you might engage in with your family and programs you may want to look at if you are interested in strengthening altruistic characteristics in your family.


  • Sign your whole family up to participate in a special walk or run to support a charity of your choice. It’s a fun activity, and good for everybody! Make sure you point out some tips about the charity you chose and why your support is important.
  • Sit down with your family to make joint decisions about contributions once per year. Ask every member of the family what type of organization or cause they would like to support. You might consider giving every member of the family a certain amount to spend (by the way, did you know the average amount of contributions made by Americans across the country is 3.4% of their adjusted gross income?)
  • Consider telling your children that you will match any contributions that they make with their own money – whether that money is from an allowance or money they raised just for a cause. You will be  building their confidence and their generosity index at the same time.
  • Pick at least one day a year that family members, together or separately, volunteer in the community. It can be fun, meaningful to the charity you support, and it helps family members to gain perspective about the needs of others.

Thanks for reading, and please, live generously everyday.

Warmest regards,


p.s. Next blog: Programs that engage youth in philanthropy.


2 Responses to Building a Tradition of Philanthropy

  1. Fantastic blogpost, I did not thought it would be so interesting when I read the title with link.

  2. Lalia Helmer says:

    I agree with you that building a tradition of philanthropy in the family extends into adult life. Many of the social entrepreneurs and business philanthropists that I have interviewed have talked about this. I suspect that is the message in your adorable videos of kids saying “philanthropy”.
    I couldn’t resist posting that video and giving Generous Colorado a shout out.
    Thanks for all you do! (Even though I am not from Colorado)

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