Said so well by Ernest Becker, Pulitzer Prize-winning Author, “What man really fears is not so much extinction, but extinction with insignificance. Man wants to know that his life has somehow counted, if not for himself, then at least for a larger scheme of things, that it has left a trace, a trace that has meaning, its effects must remain alive in eternity in some way.”
What significance would your family like to “remain alive in eternity”?
While that is a deeply personal and philosophical question, it is at the heart of every grantmaking family. Here are a few examples of the legacy these family foundations are committed to leaving behind:
- The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation which provides six different funding opportunities in areas important to each of the founders.
- The Milken Family Foundation started by Michael and Lowell Milken, seeks advancement in education and medical research.
- The Koch Family Foundations, started in 1953 and focuses on advancing liberty and freedom with over 7 areas of interest including: Fostering entrepreneurship, Arts and culture, Research & education, Environmental stewardship, At-risk youth, Medical research and Human services.
- The Herbalife Family Foundation improves children’s lives by helping organizations provide healthy nutrition to children at risk.
- The Hillman Family Foundations is actually the administrative arm to 18 different Hillman family foundations organized according to geographic region. Each of the foundations have their own focus areas. It is certainly inspiring that generation after generation is encouraged to establish their own grant-making organization within the Hillman Family Foundation to express the significance they want to leave on the world.
While no two family foundations are identical, many support similar causes from education to health care to at-risk youth. Each family self-expresses to make the social impact or leave the legacy they deem most important to them.