The Spirit of Philanthropy This Holiday Season

At Gulf Coast Community Foundation, we understand that families often have a lot on their minds this bustling holiday season. Instead of giving a gift that someone may throw out or never use, giving a gift through philanthropy can be even more meaningful, purposeful, and impactful.

The spirit of giving has always been a staple of the holiday season and it can have the power to transform the world. A beautiful way that a few of our donors have chosen to honor their family members is by giving the gift of giving, which is in essence a gift of itself. Whether they be younger children, or family members who are serving on boards already transforming their own communities, all of these families have the ability to impact our region and beyond.

Shari and Steve Ashman

Two people, one with glasses, stand together smiling with art in background.
Shari and Steve Ashman

We asked donors Shari and Steve Ashman how they are involving their family in philanthropy this holiday season. “We give gifts to our children and grandchildren throughout the year. During the holiday season, we want them thinking about those in their communities who are less fortunate. We give each of our children a meaningful sum of money from our Gulf Coast Community Foundation donor advised fund and they decide which charitable organizations in their communities - New York City, Nashville, and the Maryland suburbs of Washington DC - should receive it. Gulf Coast makes it possible for their names to be associated with the gift, not ours. The grandchildren are actively engaged in this process, training them to appreciate the work done by charitable organizations.  We want ‘giving’ to become an important activity in their lives, one that will continue long after we are gone.”

The Ashman’s continued, “Supporting others in our community is important to us.  We want our children and grandchildren to share this understanding. By actively engaging them in the process, allowing them to witness the results firsthand, and receiving expressions of gratitude from selected charitable organizations in their own communities, we hope they will follow in our footsteps.”

Bette Hoffman

Bette Hoffman, a donor of Gulf Coast Community Foundation, shared the following about opening funds for her family at Gulf Coast, “When I turned 85, I knew I didn’t want any kind of material gift. Instead, I decided to share my love of philanthropy with my four sons. I opened a donor advised fund for each of them.”

Woman stands around happy holidays balloons smiling with black and white sweater on.
Bette Hoffman

We asked Hoffman what she hopes her family will learn from having a charitable fund while being of a different generation. “My deepest hope is that they learn how to be philanthropic and make an impact in their community. The beautiful thing about their funds at Gulf Coast is that they need to research where they want the grants to go. Whether it be religion, nature, hospitals - they have to be involved and it’s their decision and thought process. It makes me feel great that each of them will do some soul searching to find their philanthropic passion. Everything is a learning process and you have to start somewhere. I was honored as chairman of the Sarasota Orchestra Brunch and my family was able to see it all in action. In fact, they were honored by being there. To me, it’s all part of learning the importance to give your time and money when you have it,” said Hoffman.

Hoffman continued, “Everyone learns from example, and I hope my sons learn from mine just as I learned from my parents and you learned from your parents. I know they will make this world a better place to live in.”

Family philanthropy and the spirit of giving during the holidays has a profound impact on those in our region. If you are interested in learning more about giving through your family, click here. Happy Holidays to all!


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