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Inspiring the next generation of philanthropy
By Jim Sanzi / March 28, 2014 /   Loading Disqus...
One of the Foundation's strategic priorities is to inspire more philanthropy in Rhode Island. Our state ranks low in charitable giving as a percentage of income (according to tax return data). I am somewhat surprised by this since we, at the Foundation, work with so many generous Rhode Islanders who get excited about giving and are passionate about having an impact on the community. Our donors come from a variety of backgrounds and bring very different interests to their giving, but I have noticed that they all share one thing: a deep understanding of and commitment to the value of philanthropy. They feel a sense of satisfaction from their giving. 

As a father, I want my three sons to learn the value of giving their time, talent, and treasure. So we started a giving circle. Each month, I allocate a modest amount of money for them to direct to causes throughout the state that are important to them. Since they are only 9, 7, and 5, they don't know the names of too many nonprofit organizations in the state, but they do understand causes like feeding the hungry, curing the sick, and making school fun. As they think about how they want to direct their funds, we together go online to research the charitable organizations that serve those needs. Learning about how an organization addresses a particular need in the community teaches my boys about the value of giving. Sometimes, they will give a little money from their own small savings to an organization we have researched. Talk about being inspired; it takes true inspiration for a 9-year-old boy to give to charity instead of buying baseball cards.

May we all find such inspiration in the value of giving!

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