WHERE DOES PHILANTHROPY BEGIN?
A fascinating question with a multitude of answers. We’ve shared many stories of our philanthropists and their journey of giving, and every philanthropist we speak with has a unique story or event that triggered their giving.
Philanthropy can begin from a variety of channels:
• A will is being updated – “I want to give a portion of my estate to my favourite charity.”
• A loved one passes away or experiences a significant event – “We want to honour their memory by giving to their favourite charity or helping find a cure.”
• Donations that are distributed regularly but without much strategy or rigour – “I need to structure and leverage my giving to enhance the impact my money makes”
• Tax minimisation – “I’ve just sold a business or property and need to ease the tax impact.”
• Financial windfall – “I’ve recently come into some money through inheritance / retirement / realised share options, but I don’t really need the funds. I’ve got enough to live on.”
• Inspiring a culture of giving – “I believe in giving and want to inspire my family and friends to give back and be generous.”
• Responsibility of wealth – “I’ve been lucky in my life and it’s the right thing to do to contribute to the community.”
• Creating a legacy – “I’ve worked hard to build my wealth and I want my money to continue benefiting others long after I’m gone.”
These are just some of the many reasons that can trigger a conversation around philanthropy and whether a philanthropist is interested in “giving in their lifetime”.
For the Cameron Family Charitable Endowment, a financial windfall allowed the Cameron family to put structure around their philanthropy. The founding donor and his wife started a sub-fund of the Equity Trustees Charitable Foundation in 2011 following his retirement as CEO from an ASX100 organisation. “It just made sense,” he said. “At the time of my retirement, we were doing well financially and had more than enough to live on. When the funds realised by my retirement were received, it made sense to create the charitable endowment.”
Every year the sub-fund supports organisations that have a close connection with the family. These include the Rotary Foundation (three generations of the Cameron family have been Rotarians) as well as organisations active in the arts and literary space. The family also supports the Hunter Medical Research Institute, in honour of the long career as a GP of the founder’s father. Education is another priority, with support for the General Sir John Monash Foundation as well as universities where members of the family studied.
The sub-fund structure means that the family will be able to continue giving into perpetuity (with their daughters as successors) without having to worry about finding the income each year. The founder said that “for the past few years, we have focused on making additional contributions into the sub-fund, taking advantage of the fact that I still had an income stream from professional directorships. However, as I start volunteering more of my time on not-for-profit boards, our cash flow is going to change. But we have a healthy capital base now. That will continue to grow and every year the Cameron Family Charitable Endowment will distribute at least the 4% minimum required, without us having to worry about the paperwork or the investment. We can just focus on the giving.”
Whether it’s making the most of a financial windfall or engaging younger generations to discover the power and impact of philanthropy… there are so many ways to start the journey.