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What are you serving for Thanksgiving?

What are you serving for Thanksgiving?

What are you serving for Thanksgiving?  One of our donors at the SWFL Community Foundation (let’s call her Nana) is serving checks.

When her grandchildren were little (Zoe, now 11 and Jason, now 9) she explained that there were poor children who did not have food at Thanksgiving and she gave them each $5, knowing that they would want to give it to less fortunate children.

The following year she gave them a check from her checkbook and let them choose which organization to give it to.  Every year the children now know that next to the placard at their seat (designed by Zoe) they will find a check in an envelope.

The education in thankfulness and philanthropy has continued, now that Nana is giving checks of $25 each. A few years ago, the children were asked to explain what they were most concerned about or interested in supporting — Animals? The environment? Hungry children? The arts?

Understandably, the gifts went to places they had been or knew about — Ding Darling, a food bank, the Alliance for the Arts.

Last year Zoe (“the cruise director,” Nana calls her) decided to organize the pre-dinner conversation. Standing with her clipboard and handouts, she facilitated a conversation with all the adults, passing out a sheet of “issues.”

Every person had to pick one. Then she distributed a list of three local nonprofits for each issue.  Uncle Arthur wanted “veterans.” She had a list. By the time the turkey was ready, everyone had chosen a nonprofit. (Nana did not supply checks for the adults.)

How to instill your values at Thanksgiving or any other time is simple: don’t tell, show. Involve your children at a young age. Let them ask questions. Allow them to participate in giving decisions. Trust them to think independently.

Little eyes are watching, little ears are listening.  Whether it’s swear words or philanthropy, children pick up everything by osmosis.

Nana and Papa have a modest fund at the SWFL Community Foundation, which acts as their primary “checkbook for charities.” When they want to make a charitable donation –in honor or in memory of someone, or perhaps for an alma mater — they contact Andrea McKiddie, the donor services coordinator, at the Foundation and she does it all for them. But that’s not why they have the fund.

“Yes, it is easy,” Nana said. “But we also like the fact that the fund is all set up and will be the charitable checkbook for our son, who is our successor advisor. He can direct grants to nonprofits from it, hopefully with the continued advice of Zoe and Jason!”

Interested in opening a fund at the SWFL Community Foundation?  It’s easy and anyone can do it.  Check it out on our website, or call 239-274-5900.  And, most of all, Happy Thanksgiving.


by Dawn-Marie Driscoll, Immediate Past Chair, Board of Trustees


Southwest Florida Community Foundation
Southwest Florida Community Foundation

Our ambition is a more vibrant community that will continually address the evolving community needs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties in Southwest Florida. We invite you to join our family and invest in the community with us!