For most people, charity and philanthropy are largely reactive. A telephone solicitor calls asking for a contribution; a business associate requests a financial commitment to support his or her pet cause.

However, it has become more common for clients to take a more active role in their philanthropy, and to share their time and talents as well as their treasure. In these cases, it makes sense for a family to adopt what we call a family contribution system. Such a system enables a family to be proactive in its commitments, and to reap the joyful benefits of making a difference with commitments that are meaningful to them. It also gives them a platform for teaching children the value of philanthropy, and how they can make a difference in the world as well.

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