Approaching Philanthropy as a Family


It's important to discuss your family goals in advance to be successful with your family philanthropic efforts.


In this installment of View from the Owner Room, Banyan’s Editorial Director Karen Dillon converses with Goldman Sachs Private Wealth Management Managing Director, Karey Dye. Karey, who has advised countless families, offers her advice for families who want to engage in philanthropy together, common mistakes families make in their philanthropic efforts as a family, and much more.

Approaching Philanthropy as a Family (Audio Only)

by Karey Dye

Key Takeaways: 

  • During times of transition are when families typically develop an interest in philanthropy whether that be when selling the business or some assets or when an integral family member steps down or passes away. Because of this, families often aren’t prepared for either starting or taking over a foundation.
  • During times of change and big decision-making there is often stress. Take the stress out of the situation by hiring experts who specialize in communication, transition, and have expertise in what the family is going through and wants to do.
  • Although it is possible that families may have one common goal or focus of their philanthropic activities, it is important to leave room for individuals to follow their passions as well.
  • It can be helpful to put rules and structure around the philanthropic activities in the family, so people know what to expect and are prepared for the future.
  • Your family, including your next generation, must be clear about their goals in doing philanthropy to decide whether you go down the path of a foundation vs. an organization.
  • Involving the next generation and providing the right kind of support is an important piece to longevity of purpose and philanthropic activities.

Time Stamps: 

[0:17] Karey describes how she got into the business of working with family philanthropies and what her experience has been like.

[2:14] There is one commonality among families that spurs their interest in developing a philanthropy and common themes of families going down this path.

[5:28] Karey shares her advice for families starting down the path or either starting or continuing philanthropic activities, especially during a time of change and when doing it together.

[10:20] Depending on your family goals with philanthropy, there are different paths you should take, different structures you should set up, and it’s important to discuss this and understand this before setting up a foundation or an organization.

[14:37] There are some common, but avoidable mistakes, that families often make when deciding to go down the philanthropy path.


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