Monday, November 2, 2009

Charity Begins at Home

Since it's November I consider the giving season to have officially begun. One thing I've been thinking about over the past year is how to start my own charity. People often begin their own charities because some tragedy touches their life and they want to ease the burden for others. In my own family we have had our lives touched by some dramatic events and health conditions that I'm sure I wouldn't have gotten through without the help of others.

Starting your own charity as you would probably guess can be complicated. According to
Start Your Own Charity - "If you want to set up a family charitable fund, a donor-advised fund will likely meet your needs. But for some people, a family foundation may be a better way to go. One critical factor is how much and how often you give. For instance, you should expect to set aside at least $5,000 to start a donor-advised fund sponsored by a financial firm. Many community foundations can set up a fund for $1,000 or less if you give regularly. But it usually takes at least $250,000 in assets to make a private foundation worth the cost."

Though starting a charity is on my list of things I'd eventually like to do my family isn't at the point where we are ready to establish a foundation. To encourage my children to give to other we've started the Giving Jar. From now through December we'll all add found change and pocket change to the jar and then donate to one charitable organization. I'm giving the kids a list of organizations that help children and will let them decide which group gets all the money.

The hidden agenda behind the Giving Jar is to inspire my children to help others and to learn that saving even a little bit of money is worthwhile. The project should also help them to become aware of the needs of others and the organizations that try to meet these needs. Because I'm a strong believer that charity begins at home, we'll focus on local organizations that help local people.

I'm excited to see how much of the jar we can fill.

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