It’s a Family Affair – Reunions and Giving

Creating a History of Giving

Summer time is a time for family reunions. If you’ve been to one you know they are priceless; but they can also be expensive. Reunions bring families together across the generations to celebrate history, to take pride in accomplishments, and to pass down family history and traditions. It takes a lot of work to plan a reunion and a lot of attention to detail.

We recently learned of the family reunion planner published by the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau. What we found most interesting was the reasoning behind the publication – economic impact. Louisville annually hosts more than 40 family reunions, with an average of 100 people at each reunion and a total annual economic impact of $1.5 million.

That got us thinking – what could the philanthropic impact be if families committed to giving time and money as part of the family reunion experience?

With all the expenses related to a reunion we sometimes forget the power of our giving. Airline tickets, gas, hotels, food, decorations, excursions…. All of these add up. But one “expense” is usually missing…. contributing to a family legacy of good.

If you are responsible for planning your family reunion, you can help ensure the good feelings live on in between reunions. You can encourage a new tradition of giving: each family contributing a certain amount of money to an agreed upon charity or non-profit organization.

Businesses reap the economic impact of family reunions, but the organizations and institutions that have supported our families are often overlooked. Sure we talk about the summer camp, or school that made a difference. The hospital that saved a beloved family member. The church group who made sure we received gifts at Christmas. But what do we do to ensure other families will receive these benefits?

With all the storytelling, family reunions are an ideal time to put our money where our mouth is — and where our hearts are. Now it’s our turn to give back to the communities we come from and the communities where we gather to celebrate our reunions. In our giving we recognize our history and we create a new tradition for younger generations: a history of giving.

Where you give can become part of the reunion as well. Your family may want to set aside time to paint a community center or school, clean up a neighborhood, read to children, or visit a senior center. Whatever your family gives, be sure to give money as well as time or materials. Too many non-profits are stretched thin and just don’t have the funds to meet community needs. Reunion giving helps keep your family legacy alive and well in the organizations you care about.

Up next: Suggestions for Family Reunion Giving.

© Copyright Mel and Pearl Shaw.


One response to “It’s a Family Affair – Reunions and Giving

  1. This is a wonderful idea…that’s how families and communities survived in years past by sharing. with each other.


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