Family foundations gather for a Roundtable discussion - 19.09.2023

On September 19th, 2023 the Fondation de Luxembourg was joined by members of family foundations under its aegis for a roundtable discussion on the topic Family Foundations: Building a Philanthropic Legacy Across Generations.



The event was an opportunity for participants to share personal experiences, practical advice, and, more generally, to discuss how a family foundation takes shape and how its values can be passed on to the next generation.


The Micah 6:8 Foundation’s founder, David Steinegger, provided the introduction, sharing what he and his family have learned after 13 years and after supporting projects in 23 countries. Among his takeaways, he emphasized the need for focus and intentionality in the choice of projects, the importance of building personal relationships with those you are helping, and finally, his advice that you will never regret giving. With these three ideas in mind, participants joined in the discussion, sharing how and at what point they began to involve younger generations, how they hope to encourage their children to take up their foundation’s cause without imposing it, and how to balance the founding values and mission of the foundation with new ideas and emerging causes.


Much of the conversation centered around the transmission of values. While showing by example was a natural way to introduce children to generosity, there was a consensus that in-person, on-site visits with beneficiaries allow children to build personal connections and create their own link to the project. Indeed, it was agreed that “values must be experienced, and cannot only be transmitted.” Many spoke of the feeling of joy that comes with giving, a feeling they hope their children will also experience. Even if the children decide not to take part in the family foundation, that early exposure can inspire them to join other charitable organizations throughout their lives.


No less than 8 different nationalities sat around the table, allowing for interesting comparisons in cultural notions of philanthropy. Other differences, such as the time the foundation has been active, provided points for comparison. The Fondation Pierre Werner, for example, has been operational for 30 years, while others were created as recently as 2022. Adding yet another layer to the discussion, some foundations were created with the intention to be passed on to their children, but for others, the idea of transmission was an afterthought that they must now consider. Like families, each family foundation has its own unique characteristics.


Some attendees reflected that inheriting a foundation from a parent or loved-one was indeed a gift, but others recognized that involvement can be time-intensive. The availability and motivation of family members that they would like to see involved should always be taken into account, and as mentioned earlier, never imposed. Others saw themselves as temporary stewards of a project that belonged primarily to their loved one and their values.


One of the foundations had three generations present at the roundtable, and another was represented by one of the founders' children, demonstrating the unifying effect a foundation can have when multiple generations are involved. The Fondation Norbert et Poupette Graas-Lavie, for example, appreciated how their foundation brings together family members of all ages around a common purpose. It was also discussed how the foundation offers an additional source of education, teaching children about their place in the world, familiarizing them with the struggles of others, but also inspiring in them that they can make a difference through their family’s generosity.


The event, which was held at the Cercle Munster in Luxembourg was followed by a walking lunch during which discussions between the founders were able to continue.

  • Date de début : 19.09.2023 10:30
  • Date de fin : 19.09.2023 14:30


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