Why I Give: My Perspective on Making a Difference

By JD Kath, Senior Wealth Advisor

A lot has been written about the benefits of charitable giving. As a financial advisor, I frequently hear of the tax benefits received through charitable endeavors, or the incredible feeling our clients get when they are able to incorporate their nearest and dearest charities thoughtfully into their financial plans. Our human brains even have a way to make us feel good when we do good deeds. Research shows that our nucleus accumbens – the region of the brain linked to pleasurable experiences – lights up with activity when we perform charitable acts of giving.  While feel-good emotions may be an intrinsic perk of charitable activities, I know I personally draw my inspiration to give from a lifetime of experience with parents who are selfless and loving.

“When you give, the blessings are endless”

I grew up in a pretty modest home, without much to spend on fancy things or family vacations.  My dad was a teacher and my mom was a stay-at-home parent, and I grew up with my four siblings, parents, and uncle in the house that my father grew up in.  We may have missed out on some material possessions other kids had, but I honestly didn’t realize what I was missing until later in my teen years, and by that point, it did not matter to me at all.  I never felt deprived because of the love my parents showed us, both for our family and through their tireless work for others.

When I began third grade, I began delivering newspapers in the neighborhood.  It was exactly how you see it in the movies – a young boy speeding around on his bike rain or shine, hurling newspapers into the driveway along his typical paper route.  My favorite part of my paper route, however, was that my dad and older brother would often accompany me each morning. My dad even woke up extra early to join my paper route, teaching me very early on of the rewards you get from devoting a part of yourself to others.

My father also set an example of devotion to kids’ lives that went far beyond his time as a teacher. He also worked as a Parks & Rec Director in the summers, and coached throughout every school year. He loved what he did – he was passionate and truly believed that he could make a difference in a child’s life.

My father’s example taught me that when you give, the blessings are endless.  We didn’t have a lot to give, but we could offer love, time, and attention. And we found that these were what most people wanted anyway.  Looking back now, I also get emotional thinking of what others gave us, and of all the people in our lives that showed our family love in many different forms.

My Adult Giving Habits and Our Employee Giving Fund

Because of my upbringing, I feel truly blessed with the life I have, and I know why I choose to give: to see the impact I can make on someone else’s life. Every day, I see things that make me cringe because life isn’t as fair for others as it has been for me. Yeah, some have created those situations for themselves, but a vast majority did not, and I feel a deep sense of obligation to help in any way that I can.

In my career, I knew I needed to find some way to incorporate my charitable inclinations. That’s why when I joined Bronfman Rothschild, I was thrilled to learn about the Employee Giving Fund. This fund allows anyone in the firm to donate money to a given charity or non-profit directly from their paycheck.  In turn, the company will match all employees’ contributions for up to $5,000 per year. I now lead the Employee Giving Fund initiative, and see it as an opportunity to carry out the lesson my father taught me – that time and money spent helping others are their own rewards.

Today, I feel very fortunate to be able to devote time as a wealth advisor to charitably inclined clients, whether they are family trusts, nonprofits, or foundations. I feel passionate about the unique challenges these clients have, and know that the level of service I give to these clients can pay off for other individuals they benefit. Our Employee Giving Fund is just one more extension of that passion.  As we grow in the years ahead, I look forward to seeing the impact our giving is able to make, because after all, the blessings are endless.

Bronfman E.L. Rothschild is a registered investment advisor (dba Bronfman Rothschild). Securities, when offered, are offered through an affiliate, Bronfman E.L. Rothschild Capital, LLC (dba BELR Capital, LLC), member FINRA/SIPC.
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