The first 10 years of structured giving: Philanthropists share their insights
Written by Jemimah McMurray
Whether you’ve been a philanthropist for one year or one decade, there’s always something new to learn. Refining your giving approach, determining which charities to support, and figuring out how to involve the next generation are just a few. In this article, three APS clients with one, five and ten years of structured giving experience reflect on what they’ve discovered.
More rewarding than expected
One year on, with Adam Bennett & Belinda Kerr, ABK 80 Good Summers Giving Fund
Adam Bennett and Belinda Kerr established the ABK 80 Good Summers Giving Fund, a giving fund of the APS Foundation, in 2021 to take action on their desire to lead a more purposeful life. One year later, they say setting up a giving fund and donating to causes that they’re passionate about has been even more rewarding than expected.
“The joy we get from funding something worthwhile that may not otherwise have happened is very powerful. The key advice we’d give our earlier selves is to have started sooner!”
"The joy we get from funding something worthwhile that may not otherwise have happened is very powerful."
Adam Bennett & Belinda Kerr, ABK 80 Good Summers Giving Fund
“We’ve begun developing our criteria for deciding what and who to support. It would have been good to have thought through this a little more critically at the start of our journey. However, we’re delighted with the causes we supported, and look forward to increasing our donations over the coming years.
Our next goal (challenge!) is to get our five kids as engaged and interested in philanthropy as we are.”
Start small and build from there
Five years on, with Cy & Collis Ta’eed, The Impact Fund
Inspired by the values of their Baha’i faith, Cy and Collis Ta’eed established their private ancillary fund (PAF), The Impact Fund, in 2017. Over the past five years, they’ve been gradually working to develop a more systematic and targeted approach to their giving.
"Giving can be quite personal, and the best way to get a sense of how you want to do is to start doing it!"
Cy & Collis Ta’eed, The Impact Fund
“Our faith teaches that wealth is only commendable if used to serve humanity. We decided that a structured approach to giving was the right way to discharge this moral responsibility.
Early on, we had some overly grand ideas of what we might do, but instead, we started by just doing a bit and seeing how that landed. Then after reflecting and iterating, we’ve progressively developed an approach we’re feeling much happier about – one that is both realistic and sustainable.”
“Start small and build from there,” Cy and Collis recommend. “Giving can be quite personal, and the best way to get a sense of how you want to do is to start doing it!”
Having patience is the key
Ten years on, with Steve & Sarah Black, The Ramses Foundation
APS clients Steve and Sarah Black started The Ramses Foundation in 2012 to involve the whole family in giving back and to better serve the multi-year funding needs of charities.
“By pledging in three-to-five-year funding periods, we provide charities with greater confidence for their budget, programs and expansion. It’s easier to make these pledges when the money is already committed in a PAF to be distributed each year.”
Reflecting on ten years of giving through their PAF, Steve and Sarah say that whether it’s involving your kids or sticking by charities, having patience is the key.
"We try to take a longer-term approach in giving money and investing in the charity’s work to help them carry their vision through."
Steve & Sarah Black, The Ramses Foundation
“We recognise that programs don’t always work as planned, depending on where the charity sits in its problem-solving lifecycle. We try to take a longer-term approach in giving money and investing in the charity’s work to help them carry their vision through.
You also need a fair bit of patience in terms of family engagement. We’ve done our best to involve our kids in giving, but we’ve realised that given their ages and priorities, it might not be as soon as we thought. Committing hearts and minds comes with time.”