Family Philanthropy

What is Family Philanthropy?

Family philanthropy is solidly grounded in tradition. It combines personal passions, family dynamics and occasionally, legacy maintenance.  Philanthropic families are expanding their impact, knowledge of the field, and becoming increasingly sophisticated in their giving.  As a result, there is further demand for philanthropic guidance and resources as donors and their families look to involve multiple generations in their philanthropy.

Many families choose Calgary Foundation either as an alternative or a complement to setting up a private foundation because of our connections to the community and simply because it’s administratively easier. Families can then focus on the most fulfilling part of philanthropy…giving.

We have designed our services to appeal and resonate with all generations. Partner with us to:

    • Create a values statement to guide your charitable decisions
    • Define your short-term and long-term charitable goals
    • Determine a family budget for charitable gifts
    • Define roles and responsibilities within your family or giving circle
  • Create an action plan that keeps you and your partners in philanthropy accountable
  • Manage complex family dynamics to achieve meaningful family philanthropy

Family Philanthropy Resource Centre

Who you would like to join you at your giving table?

Together, we can explore what connects you as a family unit – interests, values, motivations – and how we can engage everyone at the table in pursuit of their charitable goals.

Try these conversation starters:

  • Who are your greatest models for charitable giving? (Extra prompt: Do you have role models beyond your own family?)
  • What were some of the messages about money in your home growing up? How have you passed those along?
  • What is a family story that gets told from generation to generation?
  • What are some of the world events that happened in your childhood that most influenced you?

Why do you give?

We can help you uncover and deepen your understanding of your personal values, and then we can envision how those values influence your approach to charitable giving.

Try these conversation starters:

  • Describe an experience in your life that has significantly shaped who you are today. (Extra prompts: When did it happen? Who was involved? How did it affect you?)
  • Have you ever been the recipient of someone else’s generosity? If so, who was the generous party and what did he/she do for you?
  • How did you first learn about the act of giving? How old were you at the time?
  • Describe what motivates your own giving. (Extra prompts: Do you respond from the heart? Do you treat your giving as you treat your investments — as a business decision?)

What are your charitable goals?

We can take the pulse of your philanthropy. Organizations and causes you have supported in the past can influence goals for your future philanthropy.

Try these conversation starters:

  • What is an experience or opportunity that you believe all people should have? How can your charitable gifts help make that happen?
  • If you had the power to fix one community or global issue, what would it be? Why?
  • Imagine our community 25 years from now. What does it look like? What do you hope continues? What do you hope changes?
  • What do you hope your family or loved ones will remember about you?


How do you want to make an impact?

We will help you uncover all your giving options and determine which ones resonate the most with you and your family. Strategies can shift course over time, and we can ensure that you can do so without losing sight of your charitable goals.

Try these conversation starters:

  • We often hear from donors that they want to do good but don’t know how. What has helped you to take action on something you care about?
  • Describe what makes your giving feel impactful and not just transactional.
  • What are some examples of gifts that inspire you or philanthropists whom you admire because of their approach to giving?
  • How do you think change happens? How could you make the greatest change on an issue you care about?

Bring your family together to identify and shape your legacy using our Family Philanthropy guide.

Through our partnership with the National Center for Family Philanthropy, we are proud to offer access to a robust library of articles and research that will help inspire and inform your family’s philanthropy.

Have questions? Let's chat.

Leah Johnson-Clark - Donor Relations Advisor