The following article is written by Rubach Wealth, Networking Sponsor of The Gender Equality Forum 2017.
Building a Philanthropic Legacy: What about the Women?
Ask someone which big names spring to mind when you mention philanthropy and chances are they’ll mention people like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet or Li Ka-shing. If you’re talking specifically about Canada, perhaps you’ll hear David Suzuki, Jim Balsillie or Jim Pattison. But what about the women? People might mention Oprah, or they might simply scratch their head.
Why the disparity? There is no shortage of highly successful women within Canada and globally with the means and desire to give back to their communities, but for some reason, there seems to be a lack of meaningful discussion about how women can build a legacy.
In the spirit of gender equality, this needs to change.
Make your mark
For women and men alike, it is a privilege to be in a position where your hard work and good fortune enable you to start thinking about giving back to your community.
When you reach the point of sharing your wealth, it takes on greater meaning and allows you to build a legacy. As a successful woman, you have the potential to enrich the lives of others and do something special for your community, your country or beyond.
The big question is how to go about doing this. Your legacy could come about by accident, but if you want to have a great impact on your terms, you need a plan.
Make it personal
Planning a legacy means deciding what will happen to your wealth beyond your use of it. Your legacy is not for you, but it should be about you in the sense that it should reflect your values, hopes, and dreams.
So what do you stand for? What causes are you passionate about? Children’s health or education? Environmental protection? Other women? Literacy?
You may find yourself overwhelmed by the options, so here are a few things to consider when you’re choosing where to direct your money:
• Do your core values align with a specific cause or organization?
• Are you or someone you care about personally affected by an issue?
• Is there a cause you think needs more attention?
• Are there organizations you already support that you’d like to do more for?
If you plan to play a role in supporting a specific cause – whether through active engagement or behind-the-scenes patronage – you’re far more likely to make a significant impact if it’s an issue you feel strongly about. In addition, the results of your efforts will be more personally rewarding when you make a difference in an area that’s close to your heart.
Create a lasting impact
One-off donations to charitable causes are valued by their recipients and can be extremely helpful. However, once they’re given and received, that’s it.
If you prefer to create a legacy that will touch the lives of others for years or even generations to come, there are alternatives. With the right planning and financial tools, you can set up a scholarship, fund an annual research grant or even establish your own charity to brighten countless lives.
Another way to expand and extend your impact is to collaborate with others to direct your joint resources, networks and passions into driving an initiative forward. Could you strengthen your legacy by drawing in your family and friends to join the cause? Or is there perhaps an organization you could partner with to match your gift? Imagine if you started a movement! Don’t be afraid to think outside the box – the sky’s the limit when it comes to your charitable legacy.
Seek out guidance
Being a strong, independent woman doesn’t mean you have to face every journey alone. When it comes to planning your legacy, a financial expert in charitable giving can serve as a sounding board and provide valuable advice.
For example, a financial advisor can help you:
• Align your philanthropic plans with the core values and issues that matter most to you and your family
• Identify a plan to involve your family – today and in the future
• Take advantage of tax efficiencies and benefits to maximize the impact of your legacy
Families and organizations are strongest when the people within them work together as a team. The same is true for your efforts to create a meaningful legacy – you can boost your potential for success by working with a trusted partner or team that understands your thinking, challenges, goals and attitudes toward giving back.
The desire to help others is universal and gender-neutral. With a thoughtful approach and targeted support, we can help women like you play a greater role in building lasting legacies and making the world a brighter place. As with everything, when there is greater gender equality in philanthropy, everyone benefits.