One of the most important lessons of economic downturns gets lost in the panic of the moment, allowing too many to miss the lesson. I don’t want that happening. The lesson is quite simple: prepare now for a healthy financial future. If we are always preparing for the future, the present will be taken care of as well. Instead, far too many organizations, and individuals, take care of the present, never thinking about the future.
While many things go through my mind in thinking about the future of the sector and what needs to be done to protect it, one of my chief concerns is the future of philanthropy. In particular, what are we doing to teach our children to be philanthropists? Concerned parents work continually to prepare their children for the future—their future education, livelihood, health, relationships, happiness, etc. But do parents work equally hard at preparing their children to be future philanthropists?
In our American culture where immediate gratification is ranked so highly and want is viewed as synonymous with need, what are we—parents, schools, society—doing to instill in children and youth the importance of taking care of others, of giving back or, to dredge up an oft-used phrase, of wanting to be part of the solution? As the crowds at the food cupboards expand, the waiting rooms in local clinics grow and we develop a new picture of homeless Americans, we should not forget to prepare for the future. We must teach our children and youth the importance of philanthropy in its broadest of understandings.
Here are some resources about encouraging philanthropy in children: