Generosity. Gratitude. Generations.

Where did it begin? Estate planning? A Bucket List that included charitable involvement? Our own encounters with Make-A-Wish, Wounded Warriors, Habitat for Humanity? The desire to have a new family focus?

For the past three years our family has experienced the joy and satisfaction of creating a small family foundation. We thought of our endeavor as a vehicle for giving to others and a means of strengthening the bonds of our family. We have succeeded in raising our awareness of the needs of so many and developing in each of us a broader sense of generosity. Now we envision the need for something more.

We are proud and gratified by the work we have done. The fifteen members of our family have met once a year to decide upon charities for the foundation to sponsor. And each year one trustee plans a Christmas project, a family “adoption” of an organization in need of help during the holiday. Last year’s choice has broadened the focus of our foundation.

Our Christmas charity last year was Canticle Place, a small group home for those suffering from HIV/AIDS. With so many people in our family, we were able to take on the modest wish list of everyone at Canticle Place. We purchased DVDs and socks, toys for a cockatoo, gift cards and toiletries. The most touching request came from one resident who asked nothing for himself but rather wanted a donation made to a local food bank. We shopped, assembled, wrapped, loaded the car and delivered the gifts. Our example of generosity.

The response from Canticle Place changed our Foundation. Along with the pictures of the residents opening the presents and enjoying our gifts was a touching thank you letter from the director. She told us that this Christmas celebration, for these men and women stricken as they are with an incurable disease, was the best one of their lives because of our gifts. Their example of gratitude.

Our dilemma: each year a different trustee chooses our Christmas recipient. We will have to move on from Canticle Place and the people who touched our lives. Who will create joy for them this Christmas?

The answer: some other family or some family foundation. It is our hope that people visiting this website will be inspired to do as we have done and make giving a part of their family tradition by finding their own worthy recipients. If families everywhere embrace the attitudes of generosity and gratitude, small organizations will be able to fulfill their own missions. Through parents passing on the gift of thinking of others, the needs of people like those living at Canticle Place be met. Setting an example for generations.