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Giving back

Philanthropy provides us with an opportunity to find purpose and meaning in our own lives — while also helping others. You don’t need tremendous wealth to be an active philanthropist, just a desire to make a difference.

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What percentage of young adults give?

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That’s right.

84% of millennials give to charity, donating an annual average of $481 across 3+ organizations.

More than that.

84% of millennials give to charity, donating an annual average of $481 across 3+ organizations.

Source: Nonprofits Source, 2018 (Latest available data)

Getting started

Clarify your charitable intent. Take a few minutes to download our Values Worksheet. It can be a great tool in helping you choose the best ways to act on your personal values.

Decide on the organizations you want to support. Your advisor can engage a philanthropic specialist to help. In the meantime, check out these sites to match your interests to specific organizations.  |  |  |  |

Explore ways to better align your giving with your values. Visit our page on Strategic Philanthropy & Grantmaking for more information on lifetime giving strategies, sustainable and impact investing and other charitable solutions.

Ways to give

Once you’ve decided how much you want to give and to which organizations, the next question is how you want to give. There’s no right or wrong way to be charitable, but you have a variety of giving approaches to choose from:

Direct Gifts

Donor Advised Funds (DAFs)

Private Foundations

Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRTs)

Charitable Lead Trusts (CLTs)

Perhaps most importantly, structured giving is a great way to teach young children about the importance of empathy and caring for others and carry on the family legacy through future generations.

Deepening your engagement

Over time, many people gradually want to deepen their relationship with one or more nonprofits they feel especially passionate about.


You may initially begin by donating money to various local charities such as food pantries or youth programs.


Once you identify one or two organizations that especially captivate your imagination, you may wish to further your involvement by volunteering your time, skills or fundraising expertise.


Eventually, you may consider joining the nonprofit’s board to help cultivate new skills, offer new insights and perspectives, and grow your network — all while supporting a worthy cause.

Considering a nonprofit board?

Board membership usually comes with an expectation of giving time, talent and treasure.


Find out how frequently the board meets and what other additional time commitments are expected for events and/or committees.


Your ability to contribute needed skills and expertise will make you highly beneficial to the organization and help you feel more effective and fulfilled in your duties.


Board members are often given a fundraising goal and are generally expected to personally contribute as an example to others. Make sure you’re comfortable with any expected financial commitment.

Do some research to find the right nonprofit. Online resources like or can help you identify an organization with a mission that aligns with your passions and interests as well as specific needs that align with your skillset.

Creating a legacy

Perhaps you’re part of a family with a long legacy of charitable giving through a family foundation.

  • Typically, your foundation will receive some assets during your parents' lifetimes and additional funding through their estate plan.
  • As long as certain distributions, conflicts of interest, and investment rules and regulations are met, foundation assets can grow income-tax-free.
  • But copies of foundation tax returns must be made available for public inspection — so your grantmaking will be a matter of public record.

If your family already has a foundation in place, make sure to consider the following:

How is the foundation (and board) structured?

Is it a trust or corporation?

Are board members/trustees appointed? Elected? Involved by birthright?

Are there separate committees (for example investments and grants)?

Is there a support staff (such as an executive director, administrator or financial manager)?

What do the trust rules/bylaws mandate?

How does the foundation function?

How are grant decisions made?

How are investment decisions made?

How frequently does the board meet?

How is the administrative work handled?

What role will you play?

Are there rules or expectations regarding your involvement (for example term limits, volunteer time, meeting attendance or grant research)?

Is the foundation flexible enough to support the issues, areas and organizations that matter most to you?

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