Family philanthropy |

Family philanthropy

Jessica Lorah
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Driving home the other day, I witnessed an act of pure selflessness: I watched in the rearview mirror as my four-year-old handed over one of his two cookies to his older sister. Without any pestering, bullying, whining or otherwise pressuring him to, my daughter got half of her brother’s dessert. It was a special treat he’d had to wait a long time for, because his preschool teachers don’t want him to have too much sugar, and the same treat she’d already devoured hours earlier at school. Still, without a word of protest, he passed one over.

It was one of those moments which come along just often enough to give me pause ” is this a result of something I did, you know, my incredible parenting? Well, given a moment’s consideration, of course not, but where did he learn that? It was, after all, only two cookies. And they weren’t very big cookies, either. So how did he learn to share so well?

I’d like to think in many respects, he gets it from his parents. Sure, personality comes into play, but he also has a lot of examples of charitable acts from us. My husband and I both sit on nonprofit boards. He just joined the hospital foundation board, and I have served on the YouthZone Foundation board for over a year. As a family, we participate in Relay for Life, buy loads of canned food for school food drives, and pick a family from the Angel Tree every year at Christmas. We not only give our time, we give our money ” and those things, like cookies, often seem to be in short supply.

Maybe it is our passion for good works our son is emulating, and hopefully he is inspired to affect change the way we have been. Maybe he just didn’t think one cookie was worth an argument. Whatever the reason, I am proud of him. As he grows, I will look for ways he can get involved with local organizations like YouthZone which do work we believe in.

For now, we are going to work on giving. Our family values the importance of passing along to others the blessings we enjoy. Through family philanthropy, a new gifting focus of the YouthZone Foundation, we can come together and talk about the organizations which have touched our lives or those of people we care about, and contribute as a family to their ongoing financial success. The idea of sharing our time and yes, our money, with others is a wonderful gift to pass down to our children. I think it starts small, sharing cookies for example. Over time it becomes a desire, and from there, grows into a passion.

The YouthZone Foundation was established in 2001 to serve as a significant funding source for the development of YouthZone programs to benefit youth and build a better community in Western Colorado.

Jessica Lorah is the YouthZone Foundation president.

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