Making a gift in memory or in honour of a loved one is a meaningful way to support causes that reflect the loved one’s values and interests.
The process of identifying those causes may also be very special.
Recently, I worked with a family who wished to make a gift in memory of their husband and father, whom I shall refer to as Peter. Meeting with his wife and adult children we carried out exercises to articulate Peter’s values and interests. We shared stories about his beginnings and his determination to succeed, and how he quietly helped others who needed support. We also talked about his love of being outdoors, cultivating the earth and his love of food. We invited Peter’s grandchildren to also participate and share their impressions of grand dad.
We developed a vision and mission statement to guide us in the types of projects which the family would consider supporting. From this we identified four important projects that beautifully reflected how they wished to honour Peter’s memory in their community – ways that his legacy could meaningfully live on.
When we reflected on the process, the family spoke of how it brought them closer together, brought to mind valuable stories they had forgotten and allowed them to share these stories with others in the family. They also felt that the process was one more step in the grieving process.
Honouring a loved one who is still alive may also be very rewarding for the family – and for the honouree.
Philanthropy is a wonderful way to bring families together to share stories and carry out positive and gratifying activities collectively. Doing this in honour or in memory of a loved one provides an especially moving variation on the process.
As a philanthropy advisor, I work with families and individuals to create and facilitate a safe and productive environment to articulate values, interests and goals. Together we develop and implement a plan to make giving meaningful, satisfying and effective.