An Ideal First Step In Philanthropy Is Your Child’s Education

There is no better gift of time or money that you can give that is greater than securing your children’s education. What is offering yourself to the service of educating our youth, but creating stronger communities for the future? Philanthropies and charities rooted in nurturing educational initiatives not make profound differences in a child’s life, but the giver’s as well.

After all, a strong, well-rounded education is the gateway to a different life. Top-quality instruction has been demonstrated to set our children up for long and self sufficient careers, decreased levels of life expectancy, and even happiness. But the importance of education runs even deeper. Education helps build appreciation for the differences in others, which is the foundation of a strong, vibrant democracy that holds our communities together. So it’s easy to draw the correlation between how fostering a child’s education gives back to community. Aside from all the emotional and mental rewards, a solid foundation for our children helps in pragmatic ways.

For one, jobs that require a highly educated workforce are at the center of future economic growth. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 20.5 million new job openings between 2012 and 2020 in the fields of healthcare, social services, professional services, business services, and construction in higher-educated sectors — great news for children who will come of age in that time. But that’s not to say we can’t do even better.

Working to redirect charitable funding on a macro level can take a lot of time, so how do we being? We start locally, and we do so in consistent, meaningful and focused ways. In order to generate a more immediate impact, consider making a donation to support your child’s institution. Donations need not be huge, and can support the institution’s values that reflect your own. Perhaps there is a scholarship that could use your help. Or your child may be involved in a special program or activity that you would like to enhance.

A charitable contribution to your child’s school lets you be simultaneously selfless and selfish, welcoming you to the philanthropic world while allowing you to reap your gift’s rewards. Any gift you make has the potential to improve many children’s lives, but especially your child’s life. If your entire community comes together to follow in your footsteps, you will experience the full impact of your giving by creating more robust opportunities for your child and his or her peers.

As Michael Milken noted, “Early funding of promising young talent generates more progress than handing out lifetime-achievement awards.”

The most important way to educate our children is to volunteer time, serve on education boards, and supervise school events, as well as foster and develop their progress from an early age. Regardless of how much funding your school district receives or how that funding is used, working with your child encourages his or her sense of curiosity, which is the building block of educational success. Parental involvement has been demonstrated to make a key difference.

Research shows that children who go through preschool programs are more likely to stay committed to their education, graduate from high school, and earn more money in their adult careers. This is because preschool teachers develop lessons and activities based on children’s interests, which are sparked by their natural inquisitiveness about the world. Teachers also ask children thought-provoking questions that help develop their vocabularies and cognitive skills.

Speak with your kids in ways that motivate them to ask more questions and learn about the things they are interested in. Also, try to encourage them to learn about things that they are not so curious about in an effort to push them outside of their comfort zone. If your child is struggling with the school’s method of instruction, use your inner knowledge to present information in a way that better suits the way your child learns, as children learn in different ways.

To do our very best to better our kids’ lives through strong education, schools, communities, and families need to work together. If we abandon our duties to give children the fundamentals they need to succeed in life, we’re doing them — and us — a disservice.

This post was originally published on

About Jeff Greenstein
Jeff Greenstein is an American entrepreneur and private investor based in Seattle, Washington. He is currently the President of YIS Capital, an active philanthropist and passionate dealer and collector in contemporary art. Related to these interests, Jeff is a co-founder of the Greenstein Family Foundation and the Greenstein Lab.