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In November 2018, we asked you to share your family’s giving tradition with us for a chance to win a $1,000 grant for a charity of your choice. Below are the winning submissions* and the nonprofits that will receive a $1,000 grant from Fidelity Charitable recommended by the nominating family. Winning submissions are listed alphabetically by the nominator’s last name.
*Some submissions have been edited for clarity and length.
Our family has a tradition of, first, getting away and spending much needed quiet time together. We hike, talk, laugh, and of course, eat. While on our family getaway, we talk about how not everyone is as fortunate as we are. Even older children struggle to think of others with Christmas feeling right around the corner.
Each year our family business finds a family to be “Santa” for. Each of my husband's employees is given a family member to purchase for and a gift card to cover the gifts. They wrap the gifts and bring them to the company holiday party. Our family gets to purchase gifts for one or two family members, too. Then we are in charge of delivering everything to the school social worker who recommended the family that needed a good Christmas. It is truly one of the best parts of Christmas for us.
Nominated charity: Note in the Pocket
I'm the oldest of four siblings. I was born in 1949 and raised in the 50s and 60s. We grew up in San Diego, where my father was the owner of Dorman's Tire Company and my mom was a homemaker (and super volunteer). Both parents set an example for us of giving back to the community—both volunteered in many ways and both set a tradition from early in their marriage of contributing financially to the nonprofits they supported. I remember when the minister of our Presbyterian Church visited us on a Sunday (I must have been about 12). My parents had been talking with him about tithing and on that Sunday they made a decision to tithe for the rest of their lives and they shared that decision with us. All four of us support nonprofits with time and money.
Fast forward to 2009. My father had died the previous year. My mom said to the extended family at Christmas, “I have all that I need. From now on I'd like each of you, including grandchildren, to just send me a note each Christmas about the cause that you have supported with your dollars this year. We'll read these notes on Christmas Eve and I'll send out a summary in January of what everyone said.” And that is what we have done for the past 10 years. This year we are all meeting on the island of Hawaii and we will continue the tradition.
Nominated charity: Adelante Mujeres
Every year around Thanksgiving we sit down with our grandchildren and discuss what has gone on in our world the past 12 months and as usual we talk about the “good and the bad!” Our grandchildren are all under 13, so our conversation goes in many directions but we always come back to the same idea, “How can we do our part to make our world just a little bit better?” We always discuss the importance of personally giving of ourselves as well as financially helping a cause!! As grandparents we feel that this is an important role for us to play, instilling good values and a love for all mankind. Our children and grandchildren look forward to this time every year. Giving makes us all feel good!!
Nominated charity: Ronald McDonald House of Norfolk, Virginia
We “cross give” after Thanksgiving. I am a retired MD, and my son is an active small animal internist. So he gives to Doctors Without Borders in my name, and I give to his veterinary charity of choice that year (e.g., a boarding and care center for K-9 police dogs).
Nominated charity: Doctors Without Borders USA
A number of years ago, our extended family was growing out of the traditional Christmas presents as our children grew into adulthood. We started a tradition where each family member, including our children, takes turns picking their favorite charity for all of the family to support. We have been doing this for about 10 years, and it has been a satisfying and meaningful substitution for the consumerism of the holidays. No one has missed the hectic buying sprees or the stress of wrapping presents before the holiday and as a result, we spend more time together when we see each other.
Nominated charity: American Red Cross
We have several traditions around giving at the holidays. We each share what we're grateful for around the dinner table and talk about the nonprofits we want to support in the coming weeks. This results in volunteer opportunities and charitable giving before Christmas. The organizations often are aligned, but it's surprising to see the organizations we support financially but not with our time.
Nominated charity: Greater Cincinnati Foundation
In the past, my wife and I used to budget $100 per child for Christmas presents each year. A few years ago, we decided to encourage our children to give to charity. So, we reduced what we gave to each child to $75 and took the remaining $25 to give to a charity of the child's choosing. We make it a point to discuss where each child would want their donation to go while we are opening our presents.
Nominated charity: Get Hope Global
Every year at Thanksgiving, we are in New York City with the entire extended family. There are more than 30 of us. How it started: There were three siblings, George, Bob and Joan. They each married and had a total of seven children. Those seven children were raised like siblings even though they were actually cousins! All seven of them are still very close.
Now, those seven children are all married, ranging in age from 50–59. We all have our own children, totaling 16 kids! We have started a tradition whereby each of the 16 kids is assigned another cousin. Suppose Adam gets Max. Adam thinks about a charity that Max really cares about, and he makes a $25 donation to that charity. Max does the same for Adam. Then at Thanksgiving dinner, each cousin reveals the charity he picked for his cousin.
Thus, 16 charities in total benefit from this. It is a wonderful lesson for our kids, who range in age from 10–23.
Nominated charity: Families First
Our family collects Halloween costumes throughout the year and then distributes them for free to children in our neighborhood. For many families, a $3 bag of candy is out of reach, not to mention a $20–50 costume that will be worn once. We've done this for a decade, and it's taught my daughters a level of empathy for members of their community in ways I could not have imagined.
Nominated charity: E.K. Powe Elementary School PTA
When our daughters receive their allowance, they have to put 10% of it into their Tzedukah (Hebrew for “charity”) fund. Throughout the year, the girls will take the money from their Tzedukah boxes and donate it to various nonprofit organizations, often in conjunction with activities organized by their school.
Nominated charity: New York City Children's Theater
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