Happy holiday week! I have a gift for you (be sure to scroll down to open it).
First, I have to ask: How are you and your family celebrating? What traditions did you grow up with that you now carry forward?
I grew up in Summit, New Jersey, and in our family, we celebrated both Hanukkah and Christmas. Our family is Jewish, however, we grew up in a predominately Christian community – so my mom didn’t want us to feel left out. For Hanukkah, we received a combination of pretty cool and some pretty hokey gifts each night! And every Christmas Eve, we hung our ‘stockings’ which were ratty socks, put out an old blanket, and left out a plate of cookies and a cup of sarsaparilla. My dad, who slyly ate the treats after we went to bed, refused to drink milk if it had been sitting out too long. In our house, Santa preferred soda.
We celebrated our own way, honoring the spirit of the holidays—the laughter, the togetherness, and the quiet. My brothers swear they remember seeing my dad smiling as he posed as Santa Claus.
For many philanthropic families, this is a time of end-of-year giving—getting dollars out the door before officially closing out 2016. It’s a time of reflection, looking back at what you accomplished and how it speaks to your passion. It can also be a time of planning—strategizing what you want your philanthropy to look like, and the impact you and your family want to make.
At Hammer & Associates, I meet with a lot of family foundation and family office leaders who ask me questions: What is the best strategy in philanthropy? How can my family and I agree on something that will keep us together over time? How can I achieve the best results for my community or funding area—while staying true to what I’m passionate about? Many strive to find a balance between personal passions and making an impact, yet they aren’t sure how to do it.
In the spirit of the holidays, here’s my gift to you: Balancing Passion and Strategy: A Family Office Guide to Meaningful Giving, the second in my series of EngagedPhilanthropy™ guides. This toolkit offers you and your family thought-provoking content and questions—helping you plan and practice philanthropy that is both meaningful and measurable. While I wrote this with family offices in mind, any philanthropic family or foundation will find it useful.
I hope you enjoy your gift, and that it sparks a dialogue that connects your family in a new and deeper way. If you get stuck or need support, I’m here for you. Reach me anytime at Suzanne@SuzanneHammer.com.
Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, Winter Solstice or Festivus, may this time of year bring you warmth, joy, and peace.
As for me, I’ll be sipping sarsaparilla.