September 20-23rd, Mazama Men's Retreat - Come join other men in the Pacific Northwest this September for an unforgettable time in the wilderness.  We will be converging on the mountain town of Mazama, Washington for a four day experience with other high-impact men.  Bring your bow, as there will be world-class hunting in an area that is abounding with wildlife.  Campfire discussions will be centered around building up cross-generational relationships.  To RSVP, please email kgray@livingwellfamilyoffice.com

 

Family Foundation Meetings:

A family foundation meeting can be a refreshing change to the routine of everyday life.  According to Charles Collier, a widely respected former Senior Philanthropic Advisor at Harvard University, the family foundation is a powerful teaching tool that provides a safe environment in which children can learn about money management and it can also strengthen the family as a whole.  He believes that the family foundation offers an ideal place to begin and continue financial education for children because a well-run foundation reviews and manages grant requests, requires accountability for previous grants, and works with professional advisors in the management of the foundation’s resources and investment policy.   

The family foundation meeting is also a great place to develop a family mission statement to reinforce a family’s core values.  Picture your family in Malibu or Aspen, seeing your children having fun learning how to snowboard or surf and creating lasting memories together.  Woven into the recreation and after, your family discusses charities that are meaningful to each of them.  A great leader once told me that people are most passionate about things they help to create.  It is beneficial for each child to identify a charity they want to make a grant to, even if it is a modest grant to a little league program.  If your children are like mine, they don’t prefer a stuffy environment to hang out in.  A traditional family meeting structure may feel too restrictive and stiff for many children…and also for many parents.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  Involving loved ones in charitable activities can help strengthen family relationships, create a shared sense of purpose, and promote a lasting legacy for the family. 

The reason why the family foundation meeting is the ideal place to talk to your children about money is because it is a transparent and outward-focused discussion bringing life and hope to others, rather than an inward-focused discussion shrouded in secrecy.  It is easy for children to make the connection that good stewardship of the foundation means that more people’s lives will be improved.  As they mature, they will understand that good stewardship of a business creates meaningful jobs for others, and good stewardship of government creates an environment for businesses and individuals to thrive. 

Furthermore, a family retreat is an ideal environment to have a non-family facilitator unearth these stories and capture, celebrate, and catalog them for generations to come.  We live in an unprecedented time with tools and technology that allows a Family Communication Advisor to help a family preserve their stories, photos, videos, and family documents in a secure, museum-quality digital archive.  Professional writers can be utilized in interviewing family members and crafting the family story.  Lifestyle photography sessions can capture the essence of the community.  Videographers can be used to combine interviews, photos, and footage into timeless storyboards for the family to enjoy. 

A skilled Family Communication Advisor can also be helpful in promoting genuine family togetherness through the family foundation meeting discussions.  Furthermore, I have seen families benefit from using a Family Communication Advisor to provide helpful oversight and ideas to family business mediation among different family members.  They can be an invaluable advocate of family peace and togetherness, and the best of them are committed to building an atmosphere of forgiveness within the family unit.  A Family Communication Advisor can help a family navigate around the common pitfalls that befall families of wealth related to greed, fear, entitlement, and abuse.  A peacemaker is one who makes peace especially by reconciling parties at variance.  Again, the greatest risk to the affluent family is internal relational decay and fragmentation.