This Giving Tuesday, strengthen your family legacy and give back

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Practicing philanthropy is one of the most reliable, effective, and engaging activities for keeping a family together. It has worked for the Henderson Estate Company, forerunner of the Sheraton Hotels, since 1890, and for the Perdue family, of Perdue Farms, since the 1920s. 

In my lifetime of experience as a member of both families, I’ve seen firsthand how charitable giving not only benefits the people in need, but the family members and people who partake in the giving as well.  

This Giving Tuesday, engaging in philanthropy as a family provides a shared purpose and deepens the bonds between generations. It reinforces a legacy and code of ethics, especially as younger generations come of age and develop a sense of who they are and what they do.


My late husband, Frank Perdue, used to say, “If you want to be happy, think what you can do for someone else. On the other hand, if you really want to be miserable, think about what’s owed to you.” 

Philanthropy helps families feel that they’re part of something bigger than themselves and it lets them know that they’re giving back, not just taking. 

It’s a beautiful antidote to selfishness.

One approach that can work for any household is to create a budget for giving. Whether your family is fortunate enough to budget thousands for charity or just has a few dollars — the actual number is beside the point.  What does matter is that this approach brings your family together and prioritizes spending resources on something that helps others.

Once you’ve set the budget, it’s time to decide, as a family, how to spend it — all while keeping in mind that the goal is helping others. This is a great way to get the younger generation enthusiastic and involved in giving back. 


Find a charity your family cares about, whether it’s homelessness, health care, education, veterans’ issues, or humanitarian aid for Ukraine.  Whatever the cause, it’s important to work together to choose something with which your family has an emotional connection. In making this choice, you can emphasize to the younger generations their role in making the world a better place.  

Philanthropy helps families feel that they’re part of something bigger than themselves and it lets them know that they’re giving back, not just taking. 

My late husband was a lifelong, dedicated philanthropist. He often remarked on how most people spend their lives trying to find something meaningful to become a part of. Helping with a cause is a ready-made answer — one that imbues our lives with meaning. 


“We live not by things, but by the meaning of things,” he wrote in one of our annual family newsletters, quoting French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.  Family newsletters were another way that he was committed to strengthening family ties by having open communication between members near and far. 

Philanthropy can be a connective tissue that binds your family together and builds a legacy that spans generations — this Giving Tuesday is a perfect time to begin. 


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