— Elizabeth Wagner
We often work with families at the Community Foundation, helping them make giving decisions together.
For this work, we like the Picture Your Legacy cards created by the 21/64 initiative of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies. They are printed with gorgeous images; each is the size of a postcard. The pictures are purposefully ambiguous: in the image of a woman reading to two children in a library, you might see the diversity of the Asian woman and a Hispanic child, while I notice an educational program offered to the community in a public space.
Each family member sifts through the cards and chooses a handful that best represents their giving ideas. They pare their selections down to three cards each, and we ask them to look at the cards and describe why they chose them, in adjectives or short phrases. When everyone is ready, family members share their images and their descriptors. We usually start with the younger family members, with whoever is currently making giving decisions going last.
We’ve done this exercise with children as young as 8 years old, and we suspect that even first graders could participate. We often learn that family members have some shared values and also some diverging interests. It always leads to an interesting conversation.
Want to try this with your family? There’s a great iphone/ipad app here based on the cards we use. Here’s how it works: you scroll through the same set of images, choose three, and note what speaks to you about each one. You can either choose from a lengthy list of adjectives provided by the app, or you can add your own keyword for each image. There’s also a place for further notes on what the picture means to you. When you’re done, you can email your final choices to others.
If you’d like to strike up a conversation about giving with your family, we can also help as a facilitator or resource. Feel free to contact me if you’d like some guidance or have any questions about beginning this important discussion.