Ron, a former engineer, and Margaret, a retired teacher, have lived in the same house for almost 40 years. Central New York is the place where they raised their three children and now host their grandchildren during holidays and family gatherings.
Both Margaret and Ron were raised by parents who instilled in them a strong appreciation for giving back. Perhaps it should come as no surprise, then, that family and community are at the heart of their giving.
“We have three children and we have essentially considered our donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation as our fourth adopted child. The proceeds of our estate will be divided equally among the four of them,” Ron said.
Ron and Margaret have broken their giving down into two phases – what they can do now and what they can do to leave a legacy. Their donor-advised fund, partially funded with current gifts to facilitate their lifetime giving, will enable even greater giving with the eventual addition of their combined estate gift.
This approach allows the couple to directly support the community causes most important to them while also preparing future generations to perpetuate the couple’s legacy of generosity long after they’re gone. It is important to them and their children to continue the family’s multi-generational tradition of giving.
Ron and Margaret’s story is a great example of one of the myriad ways donors may engage family members in giving. By discussing their charitable interests and wishes with their children ahead of time, they have created an opportunity for the family to ask questions and gain deeper understanding of their core values.
No matter which option is best for your family, talking about giving is a crucial step toward inspiring future generations. Where and why we give is personal. Sharing your stories and experiences, especially those relating to charitable giving and civic engagement, provides an opportunity to clarify what matters most and how you wish to be remembered.
By engaging family members from future generations as successor advisors to the fund, Ron and Margaret are also ensuring that their family’s connection to community impact will live on in Central New York.
“This is about a lifelong commitment to the Syracuse community,” said Ron. “My dad used to say, ‘Many hands make light work.’ It’s our collective responsibility to do what we can to make our community a better place to live.”
To learn more about options for preserving your charitable legacy, contact Jan Lane at
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit