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From our perspective as family and private client lawyers, we understand that one of the main desires of the family is to unite the different generations and transmit the values ​​established by the founder. In the spirit of preserving the family tradition, so-called “family philanthropy” recognizes a legacy and represents the values ​​passed down from generation to generation. At the same time, in its mission to unify the family, family philanthropy needs to adapt to the new generations, defined as socially responsible, global and technological, as well as to their concerns. Therefore, together with this spirit of preserving tradition, family philanthropy is looking to the future with a dynamic and innovative vision. Businesses are being restructured in terms of organization, content and professionalization, and innovation and impact will be the basis for the roadmap for the philanthropic strategy.

These were some of the conclusions we reached after the forum held on June 21, in our Barcelona auditorium, under the title: “21st Century Philanthropy: Family, Future and Philanthropy.”

Until a few years ago, donation was the most common activity of the philanthropist. Goods or money were given to a social cause in keeping with the family values, but without any action or involvement on the part of the company or person providing the funds.

At present, we can see that the vision of the family is changing: it wants to be involved, to identify the effect that its contribution has in society and demands results and information on the social or environmental impact achieved. Measuring and understanding this impact means that any deviation from the expected results can be corrected, identifying and adopting the appropriate corrective measures in each case.

This new way of thinking about philanthropy is moving ever closer to the concept of investment and requires philanthropists to act in the same way venture capital investors would when seeking the optimal investment to maximize their profits. The difference in this case is that together with financial profitability, the aim is to obtain a social impact. So we can talk about “strategic philanthropy” or “corporate philanthropy.”

We are witnessing a paradigm shift in which family philanthropy is evolving into new forms of investment that, on the one hand, reflect the values ​​that identify the family and reinforce the link between generations and, on the other, seek the maximum social return from the actions, investing the resources to measure and enhance it.

In this new scenario, it is more important to have legal advice when designing the family’s desired philanthropy project, providing an overview of the different areas involved. First, it is helpful to reach family agreements on the passing down of the family legacy and its expression in the philanthropic actions of the family, as well as to have personal and testamentary documents that help to structure this project. Second, there is a need to analyze the most appropriate legal vehicles to channel the investment efficiently, as well as to provide legal support and professional training to the social organizations potentially receiving the family’s philanthropic investment.

 

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Socia de Cuatrecasas

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