When we think of generational giving, we often think of parents as the spark, the ones leading and shaping their children. But what happens when it’s the child who inspires the parent? Call it the multiplier effect. Here’s one family’s story …
For Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, philanthropy is second nature. While growing up, she saw in her father, Charles Schwab, a man who believes in and demonstrates giving. His support for the arts and commitment to children with learning disabilities run deep. But it wasn’t just her father’s altruism that caught her attention. Carrie also saw a man who believes in giving his children the freedom to discover their purpose.
It’s a lesson she carried forward with her own family, especially with her daughter, Leigh. It’s also one she wants to share with others. [See Carrie’s tips at the end of the story.]
When raising Leigh, Carrie thoughtfully provided a supportive environment. She had her own mission – helping women achieve economic parity and financial literacy – but it was there as a model, not a mandate. Like her father, Carrie knew when to step aside. She made room for Leigh to dream, even when those dreams would take her thousands of miles from home to Kenya and the Daraja Academy, a secondary school for girls.
Throughout the journey, Leigh had the encouragement of her family. Yes, the distance was hard. Carrie and her husband were understandably concerned about Leigh being so far away. But they also knew this truth: When you find your passion, you have to follow it. And so when Leigh came home after her first trip and wanted to return, they backed the decision.
Then it happened. The moment when the child becomes the spark. For this return trip to Nairobi, what about Carrie going as well? There was only one answer.
In Africa, Carrie discovered that she, too, genuinely was moved by Daraja. Now, she says, “I’m obsessed and promoting their work.”
And that multiplier effect? It’s there as Carrie and Leigh enjoy sharing in their time and treasure. Africa is their experience. And it has changed them both.
How do you think someone young in your life would respond to your support in their giving? These three tips from Carrie are a starting point in the discussion:
1. Foster their passion – Do not push your passion on kids.
2. Make it easy for them – Say “OK,” and develop boundaries.
3. Share in it with them – Make the time to volunteer together.