Philanthropy Blog: Summer Giving

June 04, 2015

With the arrival of Memorial Day, summer has unofficially begun. Sure, it means your white shoes can come out, and the mad rush of the end of the school year, graduations, and spring galas will dominate the month of June. As the summer kicks into high gear, many of us will head out on vacation, often with extended family. Whether to a national park or your backyard, summer typically slows down the frenetic pace of life.

Philanthropy made so many of our favorite special summer spots possible. The Cape Cod National Seashore, Acadia National Park, and the White Mountain National Forest are just a few of the treasured New England gems that would not be here were it not for the vision of the early generation of American philanthropists, as well as the resources of current generations that continue to support national parks and local swimming holes alike.

Why not use the summer to catch up on your philanthropy as well? Maybe you’ve wanted to take the time to delve a little deeper into an issue that concerns you, such as youth development or climate change. Maybe you want to read about best practices in charitable giving. You don’t have to give up your beach read, but add a few philanthropy titles to your Kindle reading list. My summer reading list includes reports from the Foundation Center on Youth Philanthropy, articles from the Stanford Social Innovation Review and the Nonprofit Finance Fund’s 2015 State of the Sector.

What about a service day or site visit during your vacation? When family members are together and away from the demands of everyday life, it might be the perfect time to volunteer at a local organization. Whether it’s a summer program, a beach clean up or a back to school drive, it gives you a chance to get to know your summer surroundings a little better. Food access is challenging for children and families who normally eat breakfast and lunch at school, and Feeding America supports summer meal programs throughout the country. Food pantries often receive donations of produce during the summer months and might need volunteers to cover shifts and accept the summer bounty. Cradles to Crayons here in Boston has an annual back-to-school drive and backpack stocking volunteer event in August each year, perfect for a family volunteer day.

And multiple generations can get in on the action at once. Ask Nana to join you at a clean up day at your local park or beach. Get the kids involved and they can host a lemonade stand with the profits going to the charity of their choice. Some of our favorite kid-powered fundraising ideas are in Beyond the Bake Sale published by Positive Tracks.

So take a dive into your giving this summer. Just like a hard-earned vacation, you’ll come away refreshed and ready to take on your fall in a new light.

About the Author

Gioia Perugini is Associate Director, Family Office and Philanthropy Services at Hemenway & Barnes. She works with individuals, families, advisors, charitable trusts and foundations to provide a range of philanthropic and client services.

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