Giving with a Sustainable Mindset

weekly update

for July 13, 2020

If you have been following Legacy for some time, you know that a key value in our donor community is giving to sustainable solutions.  But what exactly does that look like?  And how can you mirror that in your personal giving?

As we mentioned in our article Charity vs. Philanthropy, philanthropy focuses “on a more long-term strategic effort”.  Sustainable solutions align with that mindset as well.  When nominating and voting on organizations with sustainable solutions, our donors choose organizations where the solution to the problem or challenge their clients are facing can have a positive outcome that can be maintained long-term.  Clients needing the organizations services would most likely not need them again due to the sustainable solution.

Let’s use foster care as an example when looking at sustainable solutions.  Many agencies that serve as larger group homes for teenagers in the foster care system have created Transitional Living Programs (TLP’s).  TLP’s often provide an apartment setting for an 18-21 year old that they are able to live in while attending college, vocational training, or are working.  These older teenagers learn budgeting, cooking, medication management, job search skills, and other skills required in learning how to be successful independent young adults.  These programs also tend to offer social services like counseling and coaching to help as well.  These young adults are not just given temporary housing, they are given skills and resources to help them succeed long-term in the future.  Temporary housing in itself would not be a sustainable solution, however also providing services and skill training to build a healthy foundation and work toward independent success is sustainable.  The young adults receiving these services are likely to successfully maintain independent living as adults.  

The same concept is clear in working with those experiencing chronic homelessness.  Working with individuals to be part of a thriving community that provides affordable housing, job opportunities, and social services ultimately provides a sustainable solution to help someone out of chronic homelessness.

To go a step further, we also look at the sustainability of the programs we are funding.  Will the organization be able to continue this program after we have provided funding, or will the program need to rely on consistent and continual high levels of giving to thrive.

For example, our donors awarded a grant to build a computer lab for an organization servicing immigrants and refugees.  This lab allowed for the clients to gain computer skills, build resumes, learn English, etc.  Once the grant was given to build the computer lab, funding for additional maintenance on the computers or adding new computers may be needed down the road.  But the funding for the project itself was able to be maintained without additional significant financial support.

You too can look for sustainable solutions in your personal giving choices.  You can join our giving circles who make sure their pooled donations are given to organizations with sustainable solutions.  But you can also look at the services provided and outcomes of organizations when making personal giving choices.  When looking at an organizations services and outcomes, ask yourself “Will the final outcome be sustainable for the clients being serviced by this organization?”  Never be afraid to delve deep when considering giving to an organization by asking questions about their programs and outcomes!


Legacy Collective is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Our tax identification number is 87-1730864. You can find us on Guidestar here

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