I’ve been extremely fortunate in life. Throughout the years, I’ve tried to involve myself with causes that were close to my heart and share some of my good fortune. Whether it’s children, animals or even the city that gave so much to me and my family, I’ve done what I can to help others.   You can see some of my charities and involvement here.

As Thanksgiving and the holidays are approaching, it’s a good time to think about getting involved and giving back. I’m regularly asked by friends and even followers on social media, how can a family up its philanthropic game? This time of year, when family and friends gather regularly, is a great time to foster meaningful conversations about how a family can actually get involved in helping others.


Below are five ideas on how to get the whole family involved.

  1. Name your favorite charitable organizations: Before your next get together, ask your friends and family to each think of an organization they feel is worthy of support. During the gathering, you can each speak to why that organization is close to your heart. Not only will you possibly be interested in some of the organizations, but you will learn more about your family and friends.
  2. Ask for donations instead of gifts: At most family gatherings, guests will bring small gifts, bottles of wine, potluck items, etc. This time, ask them to please make a very small donation to a cause they are passionate about.
  3. Clothes: An item that local shelters often need more than food, is clothes. Ask guests to each bring one gently used item that can help clothe the homeless and others in need in your city.
  4. Start a new philanthropic tradition: Whether it is one, two or three gently used item, establish this giving process as a tradition. This is something that our family does, year after year. Your grown kids might even start doing it with their families and friends.girl-2934257_1920
  5. Make it fun: Sometimes trips to the local food bank, or asking for donations seems like a somber affair. It isn’t! Let your kids know that giving back is fun. Honor even the youngest child’s ideas. Like me, kids love animals. There are so many great animal-based organizations out there that giving a small donation should be quick and easy. Let your kids do the choosing and the giving!

And please remember, philanthropy doesn’t have to be a huge investment. Even a dollar or two can help. And more importantly, even that small amount can help establish philanthropy that is something important in your family.

Get involved!

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