I only have one life and I want to make the most of it. For me, that means following my driving desire to give my family the best I possibly can.
Financial prosperity is an incredible gift that I can leave my kids for sure. They will take the knowledge, assets, and example we’ve given them to further strengthen our family tree in the future. That would unquestionably be a successful life in my book.
Lately though, I feel like I’ve been neglecting a major piece of the family prosperity puzzle: Charitable Giving.
Over the past few years, I’ve put a major emphasis on growing our family net worth, eliminating our debt and teaching our kids the value of hard work through a chore and reward system. Unfortunately, generosity and helping out a neighbor in need have been not as important in the Hill house lately.
I’m ready to make a change and improve myself. I want to be a more generous person. And I want my kids to join along with me.
After all, we only get one life, right?
Why Should I Be More Generous?
I’ve had a truly great life so far. My kids are bound to have an even better one.
Perhaps, it’s human nature or just a beautiful sense of gratitude that I’m feeling lately, but I feel like I want to give back.
Don’t get me wrong, we’ve been giving to our favorite charities and our local church for years. I know we could be doing more though.
Right now, I’m on a journey of examining those areas of gratitude. Perhaps by reviewing those areas, I’ll learn more about where I should be focusing my attention and I’ll be able to show my kids that an open hand is better than a closed one.
I’m Thankful for My Health
My family lives in one of the most privileged countries in the world. We’re healthy, safe and all of our basic needs are met on a daily basis.
I can’t say the same thing for a sizable amount of the world’s population.
According to the World Bank, 1 in 10 of the world’s population lives in extreme poverty. This designation often refers to living on less than $1.90 per day.
Even in the grand ole USA, hunger is a major issue. Today, 1 in 8 people struggle to meet their basic food needs.
I’m Thankful for My Education
I grew up going to some of the best public schools in the country. My access to quality education has allowed me to grow my career, my income, and my family’s prosperity.
My little girl Zoey is now a part of a school system that is even better than what I had. She’s learning Spanish in Kindergarten! Amazing … She loves to learn and we’re grateful for it.
More than 130 million girls do not have the same opportunity. They are out of school and in some cases are in grave danger if they even try to educate themselves.
Brave education activists like Malala Yousafzai are working to permanently change that situation.
Related Podcast: How to Raise Financially Savvy Kids – with Bill Dwight
I’m Thankful for My Freedom
For my entire life, I’ve never had to worry about my physical freedom being in jeopardy. I’ve walked the streets freely for my entire life without even an ounce of worry for my safety.
That freedom is a privilege and I'm grateful for it.
Unfortunately, there is a national and global issue called human trafficking that rips away freedom from too many people. A $32 billion illegal industry exists that enslaves more than 20 million people worldwide.
The majority of those taken against the will are young teenage girls. And this is not just an issue in poor and impoverished countries. This disgusting problem is massively prevalent in the United States.
How My Kids Are Helping Me Give More
This activity of analyzing what I'm most grateful for has really helped me want to give more. I thought I'd try the same activity with my kids.
Last week, I asked my daughter, “What are you grateful for? What do you have in your life that makes you happy?”
After responding with kid-appropriate answers like “Scooby Doo videos” and “candy”, Zoey mentioned that she was grateful for her “Mommy and Daddy” and being “healthy”.
Proud Dad moment! The dinner prayers have been working!
The Big Give
I decided to hone in on the “health” and “Mommy and Daddy” side of gratitude instead of the “candy” and “Scooby Doo”. No offense Scoob.
After hearing an incredible interview with the founder of Charity: Water, I decided to share a video with my daughter to see if she'd like to give to this incredible organization. They focus on helping people get clean drinking water across the globe.
Zoey and I talked about how the people mentioned in the video do not have the opportunity to take care of their health like we do. They do not have the opportunity to spend as much time with their Mommy and Daddy because they are getting sick from the bad water.
She was so moved by the cause that she wanted to give all of the money from her “Give Jar” to Charity: Water. She had $10 saved up from the last three months of household chores.
Motivated by my daughter's generosity, I decided to match her donation. My wife did as well. Calvin (our 3-year old) did not want to join us. Perhaps it was too late at night or he just didn't get it. It's all good. He's 3.
Our little $30 donation to Charity: Water was a good step in the right direction for our family's giving journey. We're going to do this once every three months going forward.
I decided to call this quarterly activity with my daughter, “The Big Give”.
Charities That Are Inspiring Me Today
After analyzing my areas of gratitude, there were some areas that were really standing out for me. I started to do some research into charities that aligned with my values and areas of my life that I'm incredibly thankful for.
Here are 6 of them:
What does it support?
World Vision partners with children, families, and their communities to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.
Learn more about World Vision.
Why do I like it?
Since Calvin and Zoey were born, we've paired them up with a sponsored child that shares their same birthday. This way, we can have them think about others who are less fortunate on their big day as well.
Over the last 6 years, we've sent gifts, stickers, and words of love and kindness to our sponsored children. It has been an excellent activity to do with our kids.
Related Article: Why I Won't Give My Kids an Allowance
What does it support?
Charity: Water provides clean drinking water to families in need around the world. This natural resource that we can take for granted truly transforms lives.
Why do I like it?
They have developed a unique donation system that allows for 100% of your donations to go directly to providing clean drinking water to those in need.
At the time of this writing, Charity: Water has funded 28,389 water projects for 8.2 million people around the world. I honestly believe this organization and its charismatic leader Scott Harrison will be making a major impact on this global crisis.
What does it support?
The Feeding America network is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. They have the big goal of ending hunger in our country.
Why do I like it?
It was shocking to me to learn that 1 in 8 people in the US goes hungry each day. If I can be a part of solving that problem and bring my kids along for the journey, that would bring me great joy.
What does it support?
Inspired by the education advocacy of Malala Yousafzai, the Malala Fund is working for a world where every girl can learn and lead without fear.
Why do I like it?
My daughter has the ability to learn freely. Not all young girls have the same privilege. I think both Zoey and I can get behind this organization inspired by the bravery of Malala.
Polaris and Thorn
What do They support?
These are two organizations using advanced technology to prevent and solve incidents of human trafficking.
Learn more about Polaris.
Learn more about Thorn.
Why do I like them?
Both organizations are dedicated to ending child sex trafficking and human trafficking. I'm appalled at the mass prevalence of this horrible issue in our world and more specifically in the US.
If my donation can make support their efforts in any way, I'm in.
Baby Steps to a More Generous Life
I was pushing my son Calvin on the swing set yesterday. He requested that I only speak in a Shaggy voice (from Scooby Doo) while we were swinging. We have some major Scooby Doo fans in our house by the way.
In my best Shaggy voice I said, “Zoinks! Hey Calvin, what do you want to do this weekend with your Dad?”
He said, “I want to take my money from my give jar and give it to kids who don't have clean water.”
I almost choked on a Scooby snack.
Although he didn't want to give initially to Charity: Water, he was listening to us. He was watching us. He saw his sister's example.
And then it really hit me … if I want to truly strengthen my family tree, I need to lead by example.
My kids are watching. So, what's my next move?
My four year old daughter has been enjoying the book, “Boxes for Katje“ lately, and it reminded me of your interest in getting your kids involved in giving. I used to read it to my students before we would do a class charitable collection at Christmas. Anyway, I highly recommend this book- https://www.amazon.com/Boxes-Katje-Shine-Candace-Fleming/dp/0374309221/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1532914898&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=boxes+for+katje&dpPl=1&dpID=51lB4EC3uKL&ref=plSrch
This sounds like a perfect book for my Zoey. Thank you!
I admire your decision to give more. Isn’t that really what life is about? When you spend money one person gets satisfaction. When you give two people get satisfaction. I think it’s great what you are doing and thanks for the charity recommendations. I would like to get there someday soon!
I love that analogy! Thank you for sharing that with me. 2 is better than 1!
Giving > Receiving
Love the fact that you involved the kids and sponsored a child that shares their birthday – what a novel idea! Excuse me while I go and copy that strategy…
Please do! It helps us remember that not everyone has the privilege that we do.
Love this, Andy. It’s so important to lead by example with our children. You are doing a fantastic job here being intentional about your giving. I know awhile back I felt like I was just throwing money at charities without really understanding impact. I’ve since sat down with my kids and let them in as part of the decision process with charitable giving. (They love helping animals!) Giving with intentional not only helps direct funds more efficiently, it also makes us feel richer by appreciating all of our gifts we enjoy everyday.
Thank you so much Michael! I’m so glad to hear you found a charity that resonates with your kids. That’s the winning combination it sounds like!
Great article on being even more intentional with your giving! Charity:Water is a great organization. I had the distinct honor and privilege of getting to hear Scott Harrison speak at a leadership conference a few years ago, which is how I first heard about the organization. His story is very moving and motivational. A good reminder that we are indeed insulated from many needs here in the U.S.
Scott’s mission is definitely one I can get behind. In my pursuit of financial independence, I have forgotten others who really lack the basic essential needs of life.
Great post. We also support World Vision and our kids receive and send letters to our sponsored child. We also support a water charity project through our church. We are fortunate and blessed so it’s a privilege to donate some of our good fortune. Hopefully these lessons will rub off on our kids.
These lessons are so important. Thank you for sharing. If we have the means, it’s a blessing to give back.
This is beautiful, Andy, and I really like how you are incorporating your kids into charitable giving 🙂 ~Mrs. AR
Thank you Mrs. AR. I hope it sticks (for me and them)!
Calvin decided to give to Feeding America last night because he “wanted kids to eat”.
We’re practicing together!
Great job Andy:) I am a big supporter of charitable donation in time or money.
We are so blessed in the PF community , I think some of us tend to forget to be thankful.
I always did a bi-weekly donation at work and increased it with every raise, it made it easier. I also got my kids involved in bake sales for mental health, runs for cancer. You can make it fun for your kids and give.
Thanks for reminding me to plan something soon
Thank you for the feedback! I love your ideas of how you involved your kids. I feel like that is so important. I’m working on that with my little ones too.