“Choose well. Your choice is brief, and yet endless.” ~Goethe
What does the word “legacy” mean to you? Most people, when asked this question might say that legacy refers to what a person leaves behind, such as wealth and other assets. While this is a part of what makes up a person’s legacy, this perception associates legacy with death. But, according to Susan V. Bosak of The Legacy Project, “…legacy is really about life and living. It helps us decide the kind of life we want to live and the kind of world we want to live in.”
Why work deliberately toward creating a legacy?
Bosak refers to research which shows that when adults don’t deliberately work toward building some sort of legacy, they lose a sense of meaning in their lives. Creating a legacy for yourself and your family doesn’t have to involve complicated strategies and schemes, it’s really about living so that what we’ve done, created, valued, and supported will be remembered in a positive way.
Actively working to build a legacy will inspire you and those around you to make choices and live in a way that pays homage to the family values and social causes that create a better world.
Numerous factors influence the development of your legacy: your spouse, children, grandchildren, siblings, your home, your business/career, your community and your philanthropic interests and passions.
Of these elements influencing the character of your legacy, one of them, in particular, will work as the foundation that brings all the others together: philanthropy. Like legacy, philanthropy involves more than just writing a check to a favorite charity, your place of worship, or in support of your university’s alumni group. In other words, it’s about more than having a tax write-off that also serves a cause.
Philanthropy draws forth your meaningful legacy
A popular life coaching organization presents the concept of legacy in a truly holistic way: Legacy comes about when you’re…” genuinely grounded in offering yourself and making a meaningful, lasting, and energizing contribution to humanity by serving a cause greater than your own.” One of the simplest and most effective ways to begin your philanthropic legacy is by establishing a donor advised fund.
Name your donor advised fund after your family name or with a title that reflects your purpose. With each contribution, you’ll receive immediate and maximum tax benefit available. But, you don’t have to actually decide which charities and causes will receive grants from your fund at that time. You can take your time and research organizations and discuss options with a spouse, partner, or any other family members you may decide to involve in the process.
At iGiftFund, we leave the grantmaking decisions up to you. This means, as stewards of your donor advised fund, we’re fully independent of outside influences. We don’t have a specific regional or geographic focus, nor do we support any religion, issue, or cause. Learn more by reading about what makes us independent.
Whether you’ve been supporting charities for decades, or just beginning to embark on your philanthropic journey, a donor advised fund will act as a powerful tool to get you where you’re going. Involving family members of every age can help inspire their own desire to give back and keep doing so well after you’re gone. Remember, a legacy evolves out of what we do in life, allowing those choices to live on in perpetuity.