Legacy Arts | Issue 15 | July 2018

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Not Alone

Your Unique Path





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Note from the Editor How Do You Give Back?


Practical Tips for Creating Lifelong Memories

Steve Stockman Helps You Take Memorable Videos People Actually Want to Watch


The Coming Second “Golden Age” in Philanthropy Amanda Goldberger Encourages You to Follow Trends in Philanthropic Giving

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RELATIONSHIFT: Powerful Words As a Way to Heal Kristine Grant Shows How Letters Can Overcome Years of Hurt

Visual Art As Speculation

John Preus Uses Art to Present a Vision of What Is Possible in a Better World

A Love for Humanity

Jamie Forbes Shares How He Inspires His Family and Others to Give


Your Unique Life Path Is as Common as … Seeing a Unicorn

Laura A. Roser Explains How Your Life Path Is Both Unique and Common

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Graceful Conversations



Purpose and Money: What’s the Connection?


William Jenkins Chronicles How the Principles of Aged Healthy, Wealthy & Wise Helped Him Have Difficult Conversations with His Parents

Natalie P. Wagner Shares How She Discovered an Important Connection Between Purpose and Money


Take the Giving Pledge

Be Inspired by the Giving Pledges of Sara Blakely, Richard and Joan Branson, Michael R. Bloomberg, Warren E. Buffet, and Bill and Melinda Gates

Is Your Spouse in Trouble?

James F. Thomas, Jr. and Kelly Nilsson Explain How to Prepare Your Spouse to Succeed After Your Death

Timeless Wisdom: The Necessity of Madness

Laura A. Roser Explains How Blaise Pascal’s Wisdom Has Relevance for Faith and Life

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Issue 15 | July 2018

Paragon Road PUBLISHER Laura A. Roser EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Marko Nedeljkovic DESIGN William Jenkins CONTENT DIRECTOR

Coventry Edwards-Pitt is the Chief Wealth Advisory Officer of Ballentine Partners, LLC and author of Aged Healthy, Wealthy & Wise. Steve Stockman is writer, director, and producer at Custom Productions, Inc. and author of How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck. Jamie Forbes is a Charter Advisor of Philanthropy (CAPŽ) and founder of Forbes Legacy Advisors.

Amanda Goldberger Kristine Grant William Jenkins Kelly Nilsson

Charity Navigator Paragon Road Your Meaning Legacy by Laura A. Roser

John Preus Laura A. Roser James F. Thomas, Jr. Natalie P. Wagner Christopher Zacher

Share your product or service with thousands of financial professionals around the world through our digital magazine and main website. Email: advertising@paragonroad.com

Have a good idea for an article, feedback or suggestions for our magazine? Email the editor directly: william@paragonroad.com

What is Legacy Arts Magazine?

Legacy Arts is dedicated to the journey of developing a great legacy and passing on non-financial assets (such as beliefs, values & wisdom). It is produced by Paragon Road, the leader in meaning legacy planning. 6 LEGACY ARTS Issue 15 www.paragonroad.com

Note from the Editor

How Do You Give Back?


n their letter on the Giving Pledge website, Bill and Melinda Gates write, “We believe every child deserves the chance to grow up, to dream and do big things.” This vision is what drives their giving. The Giving Pledge was created by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet as a way to encourage the wealthiest individuals in the world to give back to the world and their communities. Billionaires who have taken the pledge are each encouraged to write a letter describing what motivates their giving. We’ve featured excerpts from several of these letters in this issue. You’ll notice the pledgers have their own reasons why philanthropy is important to them. When you’re considering how to give back, spend some time thinking about what would bring the most meaning how to protect your spouse in the event of your to your contributions. Writing down your reasons death or incapacitation. will further enhance your experience and give you the words to communicate your vision to your In my article, I discuss why sometimes it’s OK to loved ones. be like everyone else. There is comfort in knowing that millions – maybe even billions – of people are This issue also covers some wonderful advice having similar life experiences to you. from bestselling author and director/producer Steve Stockman about how to capture your family I’m honored that my new book, Your Meaning on film. Philanthropy expert Amanda Goldberger Legacy: How to Cultivate & Pass On Non-Financial covers the latest trends in philanthropy and why Assets, has received some wonderful reviews on she believes we are entering a second giving Amazon. Check it out if you want a step-by-step golden age. Jamie Forbes describes his method approach for developing and capturing your legacy. of using philanthropy as a way to explore family values. Relationship coach Kristine Grant writes As always, we appreciate our readers, writers, about how to write letters that mend relationships creative team, and the superb people we feature and bond us together. Artist John Preus explains in each issue. why he believes “art is theology in drag.” Thank you for making a difference in your corner Are you working through the joys and challenges of the world. of aging – either for yourself or helping a parent through transitions? We’ve got an excellent article All the best, that describes how to age gracefully and make the most of the aging process based on the book Aged Laura A. Roser Healthy, Wealthy & Wise by Coventry Edwards-Pitt. Editor-in-Chief of Legacy Arts and CEO of Paragon Family office expert Buddy Thomas gives tips about Road

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Steve Stockman’s Practical Tips for Creating


By Christopher Zacher


ost people won’t admit that they find home movies terribly boring. In reality, though, who actually wants to watch a 4-hour recording of a youth soccer game even if it is your own child on the screen? For many people, videos are a way to preserve memories and forge connections between different generations of family. It is unfortunate, therefore, when you have to fast-forward through hours of footage just to get to the part where your daughter kicks the game-winning goal. Film director Steve Stockman is well aware of this problem. “If you shoot a video that’s disorganized and poorly put together, no one will watch it,” he says laughingly. “Even your mother will say she watched it, but what she really did was watch the first 15 seconds and turned it off to watch Wheel of Fortune.” In an attempt to help amateur videographers produce better home movies, Steve wrote How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck. The book provides practical tips for families who want to document their life events in an inspiring and memorable way.

Finding and Documenting Your Story

Steve reasons that you don’t have to be Francis Ford Coppola to put together a watchable movie. You don’t even need a high-end camera. “You can shoot a great family video on your iPhone,” Steve says. “I wrote How to Shoot Video

That Doesn’t Suck in a way that doesn’t focus on equipment but how to think about video.” One of the keys to thinking about home video, according to Steve, is narrative structure. “The core commonality to all video creation is that it has a story—a hero, a beginning, a middle, and an end,” Steve says. “Knowing the story you want to tell is the key to all good video, and I think that’s applicable to family video as well.” As Steve points out, a hero doesn’t always have to be a superhero. A hero could simply be a member of the family who is trying to accomplish something. “A hero is just someone with a goal,” Steve explains. “At the beginning of the story, we learn what that goal is and why they have it. In the second part, we see how they try to achieve their goal. In the final part, we see whether or not they achieve it.” Although it may not always be clear who the hero is in a home movie, Steve believes there is a narrative hiding in

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Steve Stockman is a writer/director/ producer at Custom Productions, Inc. in Los Angeles. He wrote and directed the award winning feature film Two Weeks for MGM, starring Sally Field and Ben Chaplin; created and Executive Produced TV series like Brew Dogs for NBC/U, Dogs of War for A&E, Devils Ride for Discovery Channel, and $24 in 24 for Food Network; plus music videos, web series, and over 200 commercials. His book How to Shoot Video that Doesn’t Suck is the world’s best-selling cinematography title. It’s available in 7 languages and was just released in a revised and updated edition for 2017 from Workman Publishing. It’s about how to shoot video that’s entertaining, effective, and that actually gets watched- whether you’re shooting with a high-end camera or your iPhone.

most situations. “If you’re doing a piece about your California family vacation,” he says, “you could focus on your 5-year-old daughter. If she’s the hero, maybe the story is her quest to meet Mickey Mouse.” Steve illustrates how the home movie could feature shots of her talking about how excited she is to meet Mickey and helping to pack the car at the beginning of the film. Then it could feature shots of the family driving down the freeway singing songs together. Toward the end of the movie, it would document the girl arriving at Disneyland, seeing Mickey Mouse across the town square, and running to meet him. At that point, as Steve puts it, “You’ve taken what could have been a messy, disorganized series of shots and shaped them into a story about your daughter and her dream vacation.”

Enjoying the Moment

Steve describes how important it is to approach home videos with brevity and organization in mind. Much of what we do is ritual, which means we know something about what’s likely to happen. That makes things easier to shoot well. “If you’re the videographer for Thanksgiving dinner, think about what’s going to happen at dinner,” he says. “People are going to arrive, we’re all going to sit down, someone’s going to bring out the turkey, and we’re all going to say what we’re thankful for. You can be in the perfect position for all those shots.” Once you get the shots you need, the narrative will start to develop by itself. “You can take a couple shots here, a

couple there, and when you spit them all into the editing program you’ve got 3 minutes that cover different pieces of Thanksgiving in order,” Steve says. Steve points out that a little bit of pre-production will allow you to plan your videos properly, spend less time shooting, and, ultimately, give you more time to enjoy the actual moment. Hiding behind the camera, after all, can distract you from experiencing the event in real-time. “If you actually record everything you do, you’ll need an entire lifetime to play it back,” he says. “I think that’s missing the point a little bit. You don’t need to be behind the camera for 4 hours.”

A Legacy on Tape

Steve has applied these techniques to his own home videos. After his mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer several years ago, he spent some time shooting video interviews with her. He recorded their conversations about life, the things that she valued, and some memories that were important to her. The experience became the inspiration for Steve’s first feature film, Two Weeks, starring Sally Field and Ben Chaplin. For Steve’s mother, however, the videos provided a way for her to continue to connect with family after she was gone. “It helped her feel good about leaving a way for her grandchildren to get to know her, and it helped us remember things about our own family legacy,” he says. “If you have a chance to do something like that, I would really recommend it.” n

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The Coming Second “Golden Age” IN PHILANTHROPY By Amanda Goldberger


or nearly 100 years, philanthropy has looked fairly similar. Early in the 20th century, the giants of the industrial revolution – Rockefeller, Ford, and Carnegie – launched the first “golden age” of philanthropy with the novel concept of organized giving. While modern philanthropy has its roots many centuries earlier, these titans revolutionized charitable giving by establishing dedicated organizations to give intentionally, and mostly independently, in order to address society’s issues. Philanthropy has evolved steadily in the 21st Century. Philanthropists and their organizations are increasingly networked and collaborative with other like-minded philanthropists as well as stakeholders such as government and corporations. Today, there are greater options in the vehicles for giving from traditional foundations to the Chan Zuckerberg example of establishing an LLC that forgoes tax benefits but retains 100% flexibility on who or what to support. With nearly $60 trillion in wealth transferring over the next few decades to women and NextGen (Gen X and Millennial generations), we can expect to see a more dramatic shift in philanthropy, from who is managing the giving, what they give to, how they give, and why they are motivated to give. Yes, Baby Boomer women are different than NextGen men and women in many ways, but when it comes to philanthropy, the similarities are more striking than the differences.

The Future Face of Giving

Women of all ages and the NextGen are generous. Studies show that as women’s income rises, they become more likely to give to charity than their male counterparts. Likewise, the millennial generation, young adults born between 1981 and 1996 who are only now entering their peak earning years, are already engaged in philanthropy. The 2015 Millennial Impact Report – a great resource to better understand this often-misunderstood generation – reported that 84% of millennials made a charitable contribution in 2015 and 45% want to use their wealth to help others. This is different from the mindset of elder generations who tend to hold onto their wealth to ensure legacy within their own family. They want to give now and

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throughout their lives rather than after their careers are over and they are retired.

Shifting Priorities

Impact is an often-overused word in the philanthropic and nonprofit space. Simply put, someone seeking impact is working toward realizing real change and progress on a critical social issue. Women and the NextGen care about return on investment: how will their support and actions make a meaningful difference? They prefer to educate themselves before making giving decisions by taking the time to understand the problem, the potential solutions, and the efforts already underway. NextGen are particularly interested in understanding the impact of their gifts, rather than receiving recognition for giving. The issue areas touching the hearts of women and NextGen are fundamentally similar to what Boomer men have prioritized. We may see some movement on the margins with an emphasis on the environment, civil rights, and basic needs, but overall the issues will likely remain mostly the same. What will change, however, is their involvement. The NextGen want do more than write checks; they want to use their time, expertise, and connections to help nonprofits and social movements. Their being highly engaged throughout their lives has the potential to be very meaningful to organizations working on social causes, but it will also require nonprofits to work differently to manage this level of engagement.

The Rise of Technology in Philanthropy

Being a philanthropist in the 20th Century often meant attending many social galas and functions. Today, anyone can be a philanthropist with a few simple clicks on their smartphone. Not surprisingly, online donations are on the rise with online giving growing 11% in 2017. Over half of the younger generations – Millennials (36%) and Gen Y (59%) – are prompted to give by what they see on a nonprofit’s website. The ease that technology provides to giving means a greater number of philanthropists of all backgrounds who not only give money, but perhaps their time and expertise as well. Having multiple frames of reference when tackling an issue will only make the effort stronger.

Amanda Goldberger is an expert in strategic, high-impact philanthropy and the founder of IMPACT Strategies. She has spent over a decade helping individuals and families, foundations, and corporations make smarter giving decisions in order to realize a better world. You can read more at her website: www.impactstrats.com.

Peer-Supported: Networked and Collaborative Giving

Women and the NextGen are collaborative and community-minded. They are more likely to join networks of philanthropists, such as a giving circle or crowdfunding, instead of giving independently directly or through a fund as was most often seen with traditional giving. They believe that larger pools of funds increase the power of giving. Women and NextGen collaborate even when making decisions about their giving. They seek the advice of experts, such as websites like Charity Navigator, nonprofit staff, and financial advisors, or their peer networks to better understand issues and potential solutions. This collaborative nature amongst women and NextGen extends beyond how they give; they also expect nonprofits and other stakeholders to collaborate together to tackle some of the world’s most intractable problems.

Embrace Tomorrow’s Philanthropy

Change is often difficult, but we should embrace these changes and look forward to what the future of philanthropy holds. I, for one, am hopeful that the coming change in how philanthropy happens – with an increasing emphasis on collaboration, addressing root causes of problems, and longer-term engagement from donors – will result in smarter giving and a better world. Many families will struggle with the shifts in expectations and desires across generations that will come with tomorrow’s philanthropy. My recommendation is for families to see themselves as a team in philanthropy with the elder generations contributing their wisdom and connections and the younger providing their energy and strategy. Together, you can do more than what you can accomplish separately. The families that I have helped come together to create multigenerational giving plans acknowledge these changes and allow the space required so everyone can find a way for their passions to be incorporated. I recommend a couple of resources and experts, if you want to learn more: Generation Impact by authors Sharna Goldseker and Michael Moody, as well as the organization Women Moving Millions. You can also reach out to me for advice or guidance for your own families or as an advisor to families with questions about philanthropy. n

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Powerful Words As a Way to Heal By Kristine Grant, Marriage & Family Therapist, Relationship Coach, and Creator of Inspired Heart Letters


ost likely, at one time or another, you can relate to feeling bitter, devastated, or emotionally stuck when a significant relationship feels like it’s on the rocks or even lost at sea. That is where I come in. I help people to reconcile, move past the rough patch, and even appreciate the challenge as a way to grow closer, resurrect what was lost, and cherish a newfound sense of clarity or peace with a much stronger, healthier bond. Fortunately, and with passion, I found a novel way for helping clients to more rapidly reconnect, enhance, and recover from all sorts of interpersonal relationship trauma or challenges. I have a real knack for ghostwriting emotional letters for others with amazing success. Yes, believe it or not, I write letters for others who struggle to find the words to make a difference. I call my messages Inspired Heart Letters. I am able to download the truth of a given matter, ghostwrite a powerful or compelling letter, which results in a remarkable shift within the dynamics of a relationship. Since I do not possess a particular client’s history, emotional imprints, or wounds, I can leap over their ego and touch the heart of their significant other in order to convey a deeply heartfelt communication. Writing a truly compelling letter can be a powerful way to begin the healing process. However, in today’s world, the power of the written word is somewhat forgotten, but emails, text messages, and other rapid-fire cyber communications may not accurately convey the heart’s true intention. Therefore, the opportunity for more thoughtful, inspired contemplation conveyed through an honest and sensitively written letter is something to cherish. While I write letters and otherwise coach clients across a wide range of situations dealing with matters of the heart, I am amazed at just how many people have asked for my help who are disengaged from a family member or loved one they have not spoken to or seen for months, years, or even decades! Family estrangement is not often discussed due to the immense sadness, resentment, guilt, or shame that so often surrounds the rift. Most people do not readily reveal or discuss their feelings related to the deep disappointment and loss of love or connectivity with their

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child, parent, sibling, or significant other. There is often a sense of humiliation, guilt, betrayal, or false pride that maintains the unhealed status quo within a fractured family legacy. Yet this type of relational stress is one of my most popular letter requests. Clients who call on my letter-writing support are truly at a loss for words. While they sincerely wish to re-connect, heal the matter, or even let themselves off the hook by confessing their sins, the history or the circumstances related to the separation may be too overwhelming and they are hardened by too much time that has passed. They may fall victim to their own denial. Tragically, these longstanding family feuds too often are taken to the grave. On those mournful occasions, sometimes I am asked to write difficult family eulogies. If you, or anyone you know, is dealing with any type of separation from a family member or loved one and truly

wish to resolve the matter or find emotional relief … there are certain elements to consider before asserting your desire to reconnect: Be clear with your intentions. You must consciously, and with an open heart, dive deeply in order to really face the truth. Sometimes there can be conditions or emotional baggage that prevents re-engaging. For example, you may be forced to swallow your pride and take corrective actions for reconciling. The ego can overshadow our true intention, whereby we may choose to hide from the truth or save face rather than admit we were wrong. Or we may become fixated on maintaining a need to be right and thereby make the other person wrong. However, confronting the truth objectively with humility can prevent the original wound from turning into a permanent scar. Clean the karma and move toward healing. With an open heart, allow compassion for yourself as well as for your significant other. You are only responsible for how you are being … and no one else. Focus upon the ultimate best outcome for all considered. Given all the circumstances surrounding the relationship fall-out, be honest. Are you really willing, able, and ready to give your best shot for healing the matter? “It takes two to tango” … so what is it within yourself, (that was conveyed through your previous thoughts or actions), that it is now time to release and forgive? Try to consider the matter from your significant other’s perspective as well. We all have an opportunity to evolve through the trials and tribulations of the heart. Without standing on ceremony, view your relationship glitches as a gift or opportunity to exercise benevolence for yourself and others. The Offering: Consider what you can offer to bless the aim toward reunification. What are you able and willing to do? Actions may speak louder than words. Convey your thoughtfulness and care for the other person by providing evidence of your sincerity. This may be tangible or intangible: declaring your acceptance, forgiveness, and gratitude. Or an invitation to be of active service, comfort, or emotional support for the other person. Certainly, a willingness to listen, spend time together, and mutually arrive at solutions, such as healthier boundaries, a commitment to change, or other ways to achieve a more loving connection, can be powerful. I recently wrote a letter for a man, who I will refer to as Stan, who had a significant falling out with his mother. They had not spoken for nearly a year, although his elderly mom lived only 30 minutes away. Stan was divorced twice and the father of three children. He had a long-standing history of relationship difficulties with women, yet took pride in his parenting and positive, loving connection with his kids. Unfortunately, Stan had a sad, if not frightening, experience with his father growing up. He was the eldest of five children. His dad was described as a raging alcoholic, who often lost control. Unfortunately, Stan was usually the victim of his father’s violent aggression. Not too long

Along with being a marriage and family therapist, retired school psychologist, and professional relationship coach, Kristine offers a unique modality for supporting online coaching with her ghostwritten letters aimed at healing all sorts of relationship challenges. Kristine has been writing letters since 2004. Kristine’s latest manuscript RELATIONSHIFT: Your Heart, My Words for What You Really Meant to Say is due to be published on Amazon shortly. Along with numerous public speaking engagements throughout the US on children’s behavior, including relational aggression, Kristine has been a special guest on various Internet podcasts, including I Heart Radio with Dr. Milan (New York); Transition Radio (a.m. San Diego); Fox-5 News TV (San Diego); and ABC TV Portland, Oregon; and the Caroline Sutherland live Talk Radio Show (National Radio). For further information, visit Kristine’s website www.inspiredheartletters.com and sign up for her free e-book, 5 Keys to Conscious Communication. She offers readers profound tips for writing truly compelling letters to set you free! ago, Stan was on a fishing trip with one of his brothers. His brother revealed how he had recently learned that a long-time family friend turned out to be his true biological father. Stan was surprised to say the least. With further investigation, he discovered that his difficult and abusive father was actually not his biological father either. Instead, he was told his “Uncle Jimmy” was his birth father. When Stan attempted to confront his mother, she went into hiding and would not answer the phone or open her door. Sadly, his mother was overcome with shame and guilt once this dark family secret was revealed. Nevertheless, Stan had a deep desire to reconcile with his mother and move past the shock and grief. He was able to process his feelings, arrive at a healthier perspective, better understand his own history of personal relationship conflicts, acknowledge his deep desire to protect his children, and admit his need for real acceptance and mutual love. Not only was Stan’s honest, deeply moving letter to his mother a remarkable step for truly healing layers of family pain and remorse, but also he felt inexplicably empowered with his own ability to forgive, find compassion, and acknowledge his lovability. The value he placed upon having a more honest, loving relationship with his mom far outweighed the notion of maintaining a sense of blame, judgment, or continued separation and pain. Frankly, Stan chose to forgive her. The last I heard, Stan was taking his mom out to dine at her favorite Italian restaurant. Family secrets can be a devastating and heavy burden to carry. Remember words are powerful. They can wound, heal, or invite more love. n

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Visual Art as Speculation By John Preus Visual art, like fiction, is a form of theological and political speculation about what might be possible given certain structural changes. Fiction asks, “What if? What would you do if this happened? How might things be different if we believed this?” In visual art these same questions are abstracted into material or color relationships. I like to say that art is theology in drag. A magical and destructive aspect of the human species is the entanglement of fiction and reality. Religion, money, love, war, nation, family … these are all stories that we tell ourselves that have no “reality,” but which are true enough to determine our behavior. Some physicists believe that consciousness is the foundational basis of reality rather than building up from simple material, evolving into conscious beings. A troop of chimps won’t be convinced to go to war and risk their lives based on the promise of an afterlife or social glory, as humans do. My work as an artist and contractor focuses on the power of these stories and how they determine our social and political conditions. I make objects, images, spaces, architectural structures that reconfigure our social expectations and habits, and insert aspects of local history into mundane social arrangements. In 2013, I collected 6 semi-loads of furniture from closed Chicago public schools bound for the landfill, that was determined useless, in need of repair, out of fashion, scratched, banged-up, etched into, and so on. Since then my work as an artist and contractor has relied almost exclusively on this material resource. It is not without ambivalence that I cut up and reconfigure this material, but the response from both CPS students and faculty has been overwhelmingly positive, as if seeing it transformed subjectively is a sort of balm for the trauma of the closings. It bears a certain pathos. There’s an accidental, indexical, cumulative beauty to the marks left behind by the hands of hundreds of kids over an 80-year time span. It is powerful because we understand the marks to be transgressive in some small and anonymous way, because of the contentious way in which the public schools were closed, because we know that many of the kids who scrawled

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their initials and romantic longings into these table tops are endangered, destined for a life of poverty, structural neglect, violence, and statistically early death, because we feel helpless to make their lives better and are bound into a seemingly intractable social/racial strataďŹ cation, because we can empathize with the carvers having all felt like hostages at some point in our lives ‌ The public schools are full of decent, honest, hard-working people. I know many of them. But I also think the school system is a kind of prison, designed for the work habits of adults, and not for the education and cultivation of young minds. I imagine a day will come when we look at this moment as a sort of dark age in education, and this model of social organization as barbaric. When confronting the future, we drag our past along with us. We are forever suspended in the present, under pressure from both the past and the future. The past demands interpretation and accountability. The future demands imagination and creativity. I work with materials infused with history to try to tell stories compelling enough to shape the future. I want to share with you a few of my recent projects.

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The Beast is a 20' x 40' bull on the outside, with an interior that functions like a community space. Events and conversations occur in the "belly of the beast" surrounded by the material from some recent social upheaval. So far I have created two iterations of The Beast, the first in Chicago (2014) made predominantly of the public school materials, and the second in Beverly, MA (2018) made of wood from retired fishing boats, ghosts of a once thriving industry. Critic and writer, Lori Waxman described The Beast in a review she published in the Chicago Tribune. Inhabitable figurative sculptures are rare in the history of art — Nikki de Saint Phalle’s enormous, reclining woman of 1966, whose interior rooms could be entered from between her legs, and the Statue of Liberty, accessed more discreetly, are two of the few. What these monuments lacked in subtlety they gained in potency — one as a symbol for feminism and fertility, the other for democracy and freedom — all the more so because of the bodily experience of being inside them. So it is with Preus’s “The Beast,” a formidable creature if ever there was one — except that the poor thing seems to be taking shelter in the Art Center, curled up in a corner of the gallery, nursing invisible wounds. His pelt is dull, his horns bandaged, his eyes heavy with exhaustion and suspicion. What ails him? … But here’s the extraordinary, marvelous contradiction of it. Despite these burdens, “The Beast” pulses with life and spirit from within …“The Beast” harnesses dying American ideals from within which participants can meet, plan, swing, listen, debate, mend, eat, meditate, commune and daydream their way to a better place. It may sound like a whole lot of horribly mixed metaphors, but trust in Preus: it’s glorious.

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Having spent the last 5 years or so working with the school materials, 50 artists and designers were invited to produce work for an exhibition using these materials, to be exhibited in the context of a luxury rental condo and gallery called Open House Contemporary. The results were a remarkable collection of objects, some functional and some symbolic. Find out more at JohnPreus.com or visit https://www.artsy.net/artist/john-preus/works. Check out these recent reviews: • Lori Waxman’s “Best of 2017.” • New Art Examiner’s “Infinite Games 50/50.” • Bauwelt magazine. • New City Chicago Art 50. And these recent exhibitions: • Art Basel-Miami with Rhona Hoffman Gallery • Pulse-Miami with Rena Bransten Gallery

John Preus (rhymes with choice – b. 1971) spent his early years running barefoot under a cathedral of trees in Makumira, Tanzania, then grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and northern Wisconsin. Preus, currently works as an artist, builder, fabricator, amateur writer, musician, and collaborator. After receiving his bachelors in art, Preus studied hand-tool furniture-making with master, John Nesset. He fabricated for Nesset and later for many other artists and designers, including Dan Peterman, Theaster Gates, Omer Arbel, and Norman Teague. Preus co-founded SHoP, a community art space in Hyde Park Chicago with Laura Shaeffer (2011), and Material Exchange with Sara Black (2005). Preus collaborated with Theaster Gates on the Dorchester Projects and was project lead for 12 Ballads for Huguenot House, at Documenta 13, the culmination of a 6 year collaboration with Gates. Preus was recently a Kaplan resident at Northwestern University, a 2016 nominee for the US Artist Fellowship, and was included in New City’s Chicago Art 50 in 2016. He was the 2013-2014 Jackman-Goldwasser resident at the Hyde Park Art Center, a 2015 Propeller Fund recipient, a 2014 Efroymson Fellow in sculpture and installation, 2014’s first place winner of the Maker grant, and a 2013 finalist. He was a finalist for the 2015 Artadia Award and the 2014 Creative Capital grant, and a 2014 DCASE artist grant recipient. Selected solo exhibitions include The Beast: Herd Mentality at Montserrat College of Art, Beverly, MA; John Preus: New Work at Rena Bransten Gallery in San Francisco; The Relative Appetite of Hungry Ghosts at Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago; John Preus On Drawing at the Heilbronn Kunstverein in Germany; The Beast at The Hyde Park Art Center; and Slow Sound at the Experimental Sound Studio. Group shows include The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Threewalls Chicago; The Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, OR; The Iceberg Gallery in Portland, OR; Miami/Basel; the New York Armory Show; ADAA; EXPO Chicago; The Elmhurst Biennial; The Huguenot House in Kassel, Germany; and The Devos Art Museum in Michigan.

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A Love for Humanity Jamie Forbes turned a passion for giving into his life’s work. By Christopher Zacher


or Jamie Forbes, philanthropy is a family affair. In his work as a philanthropy advisor, he focuses on helping individuals and their families discover the joy of giving.

generosity that Jamie found inspiring. While on a family vacation to the Caribbean, Jamie’s children spent time sharing their coloring books with other local kids. The locals were delighted by the books.

As a Founding Partner at Forbes Legacy Advisors, Jamie works with families to clarify their shared values. He helps them to find opportunities for expressing those values through charities and other philanthropic initiatives. His services not only benefit the larger community but provide parents with a way to foster a sense of generosity in their children.

“At the end of the vacation, our kids asked, ‘Is it okay if we leave our books with our new friends?’” Jamie explains proudly. “We thought that was so nice and thoughtful.”

“It’s a great mechanism for bringing families together because it’s not about any individual,” Jamie says. “It’s not about the acquisition of things. It’s about doing good things for the community and causes that you care about.”

An Inspiring Family of His Own

Prior to starting his own advisory firm, Jamie spent 25 years working in large corporate environments. “I learned a ton and enjoyed that,” he says of his time in the business world. “But I always felt like there was something missing for me in that work.” After pivoting toward the non-profit sector, Jamie found that he enjoyed doing mission-based work. Around the same time, his own daughters committed some acts of

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The experience, which Jamie jokingly refers to as “accidental philanthropy,” led to a decade-long initiative that resulted in a new library for the children of the island. The family started by bringing books in their suitcases when they went to visit. Eventually, they were collecting donations from their friends, shipping 50-gallon drums full of supplies to the local school, and hiring carpenters to build shelves for all of the donated books. “We had been longing for that kind of experience and didn’t know how to create it,” Jamie says. “That was something that helped me see how many other people in our community longed for something like that.”

Proactive Generosity

Today, Jamie sees his work as providing philanthropic opportunities to people who may not realize what kinds of opportunities exist. He encourages a proactive approach

to giving as opposed to one that is sparked by holidays or current events. “The reality is that most of us grew up with reactive giving as the default,” he explains. “The whole concept of proactive and strategic giving is something that people either don’t have time to think about or have difficulty accessing.” By allowing children to have a voice in the conversation, parents are able to gain a better understanding of what is important to their kids. Instead of imposing their own values onto their children, parents can create a thoughtful giving strategy that the entire family is excited about. “I think it’s really important for parents to help their kids figure out what they care about and relate that to their giving,” Jamie says. “Without that, it’s hard to get buy-in from everyone involved.”

Empathy As a Way of Life

Jamie hopes that his work is able to connect family members with one another as well as the world around them. “It’s an opportunity for families to learn and be inspired by each other,” he says. At the same time, Jamie believes that instilling a sense of generosity in children from a young age is extremely important. To Jamie, the desire to give is like a “muscle”

Jamie Forbes grew up in an old New England family imbued with a strong sense of belonging, good fortune, and a clear understanding that with privilege comes responsibility. This experience taught him the importance of family culture, tradition, mentoring, and stewardship. Philanthropy has deep roots in his family history, and yet Jamie identified early on that there was limited training around how to give, what to give, and how to evaluate the societal impact of giving. He longed for coaching and mentoring, and today he gets great satisfaction from the coaching and mentoring that comes with this work. Before Forbes Legacy Advisors, Jamie founded a management consulting group with several partners. Opus Advisors focuses on expanding the capacity of nonprofit organizations. During his tenure at Opus Advisors, Jamie launched their philanthropy advising division, serving both families and businesses to get the greatest impact from their giving. He has also coached and mentored his own children in their giving, including helping them raise funds and donate books to establish a library for an elementary school on the Caribbean Island of Dominica. Jamie is particularly passionate about helping people discover how to combine what they love and how to give. His work advising clients on their giving helped him identify an even greater need that existed: growing and nurturing their greatest assets – the individuals in the family. With best practices from his own family and others, Jamie brings his natural ability to build relationships, identify and understand culture, and plan strategically for clients. When he is not at work, Jamie can be found with his wife and two daughters or enjoying time with friends. He is an avid outdoor enthusiast, exercise nut, musician, and cancer survivor. Traveling provides an opportunity to understand other cultures, which also helps him understand people better. Jamie is a Charter Advisor of Philanthropy (CAP®), holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Connecticut College, and has also studied at The Wharton School and Babson College. Learn more about Jamie’s work at www.ForbesLegacyAdvisors.com that can be nurtured. “Start early,” he says, giving advice to parents who want to raise generous kids. “Don’t make it about the money. Make it about the concept.” Ultimately, he believes that raising kind and thoughtful individuals can produce a better society. “I spend a lot of time with my clients and their kids digging into empathy, the power of it and what it does for people collectively,” he says. “If I could aspire to be known for something, it would be using empathy to connect people.” n

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How Will You Change Th Make The Most Impact With Charity


l Animal Rights, Welfare, and Services l Wildlife Conservation l Zoos and Aquariums


l Early Childhood Programs and Services l Youth Education Programs and Services l Adult Education Programs and Services l Special Education l Education Policy and Reform Scholarship and Financial Support

Community Development l l l l

United Ways Jewish Federations Community Foundations Housing and Neighborhood Development

Arts, Culture, Humanities l Libraries, Historical Societies and Landmark Preservation l Museum l Performing Arts l Public Broadcasting and Media

Resources for Intelligent Giving: www.charitynavigat

he World?



l Development and Relief Services l International Peace, Security, and Affairs l Humanitarian Relief Supplies


l Environmental Protection and Conservation l Botanical Gardens, Parks, and Nature Centers


l Diseases, Disorders, and Disciplines l Patient and Family Support l Treatment and Prevention Services l Medical Research

Research and Public Policy

l Non-Medical Science & Technology Research l Social and Public Policy Research


Human and Civil Rights l Advocacy and Education


l Religious Activities l Religious Media and Broadcasting

Human Services

l Children’s and Family Services l Youth Development, Shelter, and Crisis Services l Food Banks, Food Pantries, and Food Distribution l Multipurpose Human Service Organizations l Homeless Services l Social Services

Graceful Conversations Life Lessons from Coventry Edwards-Pitt, Author, Aged Healthy, Wealthy & Wise By William Jenkins, Content Editor for Legacy Arts magazine

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had the pleasure of interviewing Coventry EdwardsPitt (Covie) on a day when I was particularly stressed about my parents. We live about 7 hours away from them, and I had recently flown home to visit when they both had doctor’s appointments. Because of the distance away, this was the first doctor appointment I attended with them in several years. Since that time, my father had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and my mom was recovering from hip replacement surgery. They both turn 80 this year, and their health needs were of concern more than ever. My wife and I talk about moving to be close to them and quite often feel guilty for not being closer to be more involved in their care. But we both need to work at this point in our lives, and it is not easy to move without work. Plus, we have a son who is in 9th grade, very happy with his school and friends and another son attending college in-state, so we receive those in-state tuition breaks that we would not if we moved near my parents. So the question keeps arising, what do we do? Many of you may remember Covie from a previous article in Legacy Arts that Covie wrote after the release of her first book, Raised Healthy, Wealthy & Wise. While sharing insights of positive parenting messages that worked, she began using the same approach to tackle how to have a fulfilling later life and conquer any challenges of aging. The results are part of Covie’s new book, Aged Healthy, Wealthy & Wise. I shared with Covie during our conversation about my parents and felt encouraged about where we are with them — even if not geographically close — because of how many conversations we had about their care, estate, and wishes for the future. I was pleased to see that the entire second half of Aged Healthy, Wealthy & Wise is about things that I can do to be proactive now: asking questions, bringing up conversations that are difficult, and keeping them engaged with friends, family, and technology. The truth is that the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease was a wake-up call for my dad. Soon after his diagnosis, we sat down together, and he showed me all of the paperwork connected with his estate: from insurance policies to tax documents to financial statements to documents detailing the land he owned. He wanted me to know every detail in case something happened to him. My mom is not involved in the ongoing finances, but my dad showed her as well so that she would be able to step in if she needed to. My dad was all about being prepared.

Aged Healthy, Wealthy & Wise gave me the tools, and encouragement, to continue this conversation with my parents in a meaningful, purposeful way, and I am so thankful to Covie for that. One of the most interesting findings from Covie’s interviews is about how staying connected to technology improves the lives of those who are aging. I am so proud of the job my mom is doing staying connected to us on social media. In January I bought her an iPad, and she has been texting and connecting with us via email ever since and has Wi-Fi in her home for the first time. Despite all these positive conversations, there are some difficult conversations my dad does not want to have. Although he is prepared with long-term care insurance if he needs to move to assisted living, there is a clear avoidance of the topic, knowing that he wants to stay in his home as long as possible. He has not been willing to talk about moving in with us or other options that take him out of his home. Aged Healthy, Wealthy & Wise gave me the perspective that this is a process — to make it an ongoing discussion based on our love as a family so that we have the best possible futures with the time we have together. As the research and stories in Aged Healthy, Wealthy & Wise reveal, the greater the ability to talk about difficult topics earlier in life, the better off these families are for the future. It’s never too early to start the conversation! Aged Healthy, Wealthy & Wise gives you the tools to do just that. n

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PURPOSE AND MONEY What’s the Connection? “Let the beauty we love be what we do.” —Rumi By Natalie P. Wagner


n my mid 20’s, I worked what seemed to be a “good job” in the corporate world. It started great. I enjoyed my team, was developing my skills, and was proud of the money I earned. Together, these experiences gave meaning and pleasure to my days. But when the commodity I was selling changed ownership, my team was replaced and my duties shifted away from my personal strengths. Things turned sour. My days became long and uncomfortable, and my sales dropped significantly, and over time I felt smaller and distant from what is special and uniquely gifted about me. As much as I tried to have a good attitude, my sentiments toward my work and its meaning in my life spiraled downwards. I chose to stay with the position because of the money. But as my relationship with the job soured, so did my relationship with the money. After all, if the money was the reason I was there, the money represented the job. My spending behaviors changed. In subtle attempts to show myself that I was valuable, I began choosing the more expensive entrees and wines. I splurged on longer massages, telling myself that I deserved it for what I

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endured through the workweek. I felt like my money owed me something. But, as Lynn Twist writes, “Money cannot replenish the soul.” Truly, that’s what I was asking it to do.

Profound Realizations

Fusing this experience with years of observing people and money, I came to two profound realizations. The first seems too obvious to need repeating, and yet is too often missed to leave out: Money alone is not enough. The second realization is more elusive: Our relationship with the money in our lives is deeply impacted by our relationship with the source of that money. When my relationship with my money source became toxic, it contaminated my relationship with all the money in my life. The toxicity was attached to every dollar I earned, and I could feel it in every dollar I used. Considering how often and intimately we interact with money, I felt this effect across my entire life. Not long afterwards, my favorite yoga teacher gave a lesson on Dharma. My heart moved to the idea that, as unique beings, we each have a something special to share—something we uniquely do better than anyone

else. What’s more, engaging and sharing this part of ourselves is our opportunity, our duty, and our purpose.

Dharma and Purpose

The “Aha!” came when I saw the potential of one simple and life-changing question: What if our Dharma was the source of our money? I’m very lucky to have grown up with two parents who claim purpose in their work. The power of the energy lines connecting their work to their earnings continues into their giving, spending, and savings. It is tangible in how they’ve embraced their work days, as well as in the integrity and joy that’s permeated their personal lives as they’ve used their money in ways deeply connected to their values. Each dollar earned and used makes them more of their true selves, and this touches their lives every time their lives touch money. In my opinion, it’s overly idealistic to expect each person to work their personal Dharma to create money. Between unpleasant work that needs doing, family money or business dividends that one may not work to receive, and roles where one creates value without being paid money (such as a stay at home parent), there is a lot of work, money and value that is coming and going around that may not directly connect with each other or bolster purpose. However, there is clearly a relationship between money creation, the work that we do and purpose.

Making It Personal

In my case, perhaps if I had had a family at the time that my corporate job went sour, there might have been a sense of purpose in providing for them that would have changed my experience—and perhaps changed what the money and its source meant to me. My story and that of my parents are not the only examples that beautifully illustrate the connection. I have a client whose immense family wealth was created in ways that she deems morally questionable. For some time, these ethics defined her relationship with her money, and she felt lost in a sea of its quantity, her perception of toxicity, and a lack of sense of self and purpose. Through coaching, she began to take ownership over the money that effectively became her responsibility when it became her money. At the same time, she developed ownership over her personal purpose. Honoring the value of the money itself, she now uses it in ways that connect her to that purpose, and that help connect others to theirs. She’s come to value her freedom from the daily task of making money, realizing she can work, and create genuine value in ways that don’t “earn a living.”

As a Money Wellness Coach and Finologist (a money theorist studying human value exchange and what money means in our lives), Natalie has created a metaphysically different approach for understanding and interacting with money in our daily lives. Her discoveries, The Money Energy Cycle™ and Money Breath, are a map and a portal for viewing money through energy lines of value and through the wisdom of the body. As a coach, she infuses this philosophy into money management systems to bring balance, alignment and inspiration to life in your everyday finances. Explore more at VitalFinancials.com. Natalie lives in Denver, CO, with her husband, young son, and twin baby boys. I have a girlfriend who does not work outside the home. Even though she works hard and feels connected to her Purpose as a mother, she initially questioned her own value in light of her lack of earning. She generally felt like she wasn’t doing enough and did not feel entitled to spend money on herself. But when she saw the connection between her invaluable role as a mother and the financial benefits of her staying inside the home and the support it gave her husband to earn for their family, she was able to connect her purpose to the money in her life. This gave her an internal sense of value and freed her to use money on herself. Another dear friend of mine works a corporate sales job. She does not have children, and her work, though interesting and exciting, is not her Dharma. Still, her life is riddled with both Purpose and money. She finds her self through travel, music and adventures with friends and family. Her job creates the money that supports her ability to live purpose in these ways. For her, this ties purpose to the work itself, and gives meaning to her days. What do these stories demonstrate? We must connect our money to purpose. When purpose fell away in my cooperate job, the money was not enough to satisfy me, and the fallout stretched the breadth of my life. When we connect our money to our purpose, however, whether directly through work or indirectly through what our money enables otherwise (or both), purpose flows throughout our lives on the back of every dollar. Our lives build up around it, and, ultimately, our purpose becomes our legacy. As a Money Wellness Coach and Finologist (a money theorist who studies human value exchange and what money means in our lives), these are the kind of questions I look to answer. I’ve created several tools for understanding your money in light of your life – or if you prefer, in light of purpose. Aptly, this work is my Dharma, and I find deep purpose in helping you use your money to live yours. n

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ENDURING There are families of enduring greatness. They have achieved excellence in times past, yet continue to pursue what made them great. They have stories to tell. They embody high character, are celebrated throughout history and loved by all who know them.

What’s your legacy?

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Take the Giving Pledge For this issue of Legacy Arts, we want to feature some of those who have taken The Giving Pledge. Each of the following excerpts is taken from their actual letters accepting the pledge. Be inspired to give! Read more at givingpledge.org.

Sara Blakely’s Giving Pledge Since I was a little girl I have always known I would help women … I have so much gratitude for being a woman in America. I never lose sight that I was born in the right country, at the right time. And, I never lose sight of the fact that there are millions of women around the world who are not dealt the same deck of cards upon their birth. Simply because of their gender, they are not given the same chance I had to create my own success and follow my dreams. It is for those women that I make this pledge. At Spanx, philanthropy is part of our culture. I believe in sharing the opportunity to give back directly with the people who have helped me earn the right to do so in the first place. … I am committed to the belief that we would all be in a much better place if half the human race (women) were empowered to prosper, invent, be educated, start their own businesses, run for office—essentially be given the chance to soar! I pledge to invest in women because I believe it offers one of the greatest returns on investment. While many of the world’s natural resources are being depleted, one is waiting to be unleashed—women.

Sincerely, Sara Blakely

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Richard and Joan Branson’s Giving Pledge Stuff really is not what brings happiness. Family, friends, good health and the satisfaction that comes from making a positive difference are what really matters. Happily our children, who will be our principal heirs, agree with me on this. As and when we take monies out of the Virgin Group of companies the majority of it will be invested in entrepreneurial approaches to help make a difference in the world. We want the value created by the Virgin Group to be used to invest in new collaborative approaches to addressing issues, where business, governments and not-forprofits join forces to create a healthy, equitable and peaceful world for future generations to enjoy. We started by trying to give a voice to the young people of the 1960s and hope our “Giving pledge” will help many generations to come. We look forward to working with Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in expanding the number of people who are part of this pledge outside America. We are honoured to be joining this great group of leaders as part of a movement where all sectors are working together towards radical new approaches to solving issues that will help to truly change the world for the better.

Richard and Joan Branson

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My Commitment to Giving The reality of great wealth is that you can’t spend it and you can’t take it with you. For decades, I’ve been committed to giving away the vast majority of my wealth to causes that I’m passionate about—and that my children are passionate about. And so I am enthusiastically taking the Giving Pledge, and nearly all of my net worth will be given away in the years ahead or left to my foundation. Making a difference in people’s lives— and seeing it with your own eyes—is perhaps the most satisfying thing you’ll ever do. If you want to fully enjoy life—give. And if you want to do something for your children and show how much you love them, the single best thing—by far—is to support organizations that will create a better world for them and their children. Long term, they will benefit more from your philanthropy than from your will. I believe the philanthropic contributions I’m now making are as much gifts to my children as they are to the recipient organizations. Giving also allows you to leave a legacy that many others will remember. Rockefeller, Carnegie, Frick, Vanderbilt, Stanford, Duke—we remember them more for the long-term effects of their philanthropy than for the companies they founded, or for their descendants. And by giving, we inspire others to give of themselves, whether their money or their time.

Michael R. Bloomberg

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My Philanthropic Pledge In 2006, I made a commitment to gradually give all of my Berkshire Hathaway stock to philanthropic foundations. I couldn’t be happier with that decision. Now, Bill and Melinda Gates and I are asking hundreds of rich Americans to pledge at least 50% of their wealth to charity. So I think it is fitting that I reiterate my intentions and explain the thinking that lies behind them. First, my pledge: More than 99% of my wealth will go to philanthropy during my lifetime or at death. Measured by dollars, this commitment is large. In a comparative sense, though, many individuals give more to others every day. Millions of people who regularly contribute to churches, schools, and other organizations thereby relinquish the use of funds that would otherwise benefit their own families. The dollars these people drop into a collection plate or give to United Way mean forgone movies, dinners out, or other personal pleasures. In contrast, my family and I will give up nothing we need or want by fulfilling this 99% pledge. Moreover, this pledge does not leave me contributing the most precious asset, which is time. Many people, including—I’m proud to say—my three children, give extensively of their own time and talents to help others. Gifts of this kind often prove far more valuable than money.

Warren E. Buffet

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Bill and Melinda Gates’ Giving Pledge Our animating principle is that all lives have equal value. Put another way, it means that we believe every child deserves the chance to grow up, to dream and do big things. We have been blessed with good fortune beyond our wildest expectations, and we are profoundly grateful. But just as these gifts are great, so we feel a great responsibility to use them well. That is why we are so pleased to join in making an explicit commitment to the Giving Pledge. The idea of the pledge came out of discussions we had with other givers about what they were doing about what had worked in philanthropy and what had not worked. Everyone shared how giving had made their lives richer. Everyone who attended was inspired by listening to the others’ passion and encouraged to do even more. For the two of us, because we see amazing progress every day, but also, how much more work remains, we’re honored to be a part of this pledge effort. … Both of us were fortunate to grow up with parents who taught us some tremendously important values. Work hard. Show respect. Have a sense of humor. And if life happens to bless you with talent or treasure, you have a responsibility to use those gifts as well and as wisely as you possibly can. Now we hope to pass this example on to our own children. We feel very lucky to have the chance to work together in giving back the resources we are stewards of. By joining the Giving Pledge effort, we’re certain our giving will be more effective because of the time we will spend with this group. We look forward to sharing what a wonderful experience this has been for us and learning from the experience of others.

Best wishes, Bill and Melinda Gates

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Is Your Spouse in Trouble? by James F. Thomas, Jr. and Kelly Nilsson

Best laid plans don’t always work

When her spouse Gary died at age 54 from a terminal illness, though grieving, Barbara felt financially secure. Before he passed away, they established a trust to assure Barbara would have the resources to run the business they had built together and maintain her lifestyle. As a precautionary measure the couple named a close friend and former attorney as trustee – someone they both liked and trusted. Initially things went well. Then the business took a turn for the worse and Barbara called upon the trustee for assistance. Though trust assets were sufficient to weather the storm, the trustee thought otherwise and limited her access. After a long economic downturn and months of stress with nowhere to turn, Barbara sold her home. It still wasn’t enough. In the end, she lost the house, the business, the business income, and her relationship with the trustee. This typical estate plan failure changed Barbara’s life forever.

Good outcomes are the exception

Disastrous financial consequences are common among families in transition. Family wealth is often dissipated or destroyed due to the loss of a key person and the survivor’s lack of familiarity with the many skills necessary to manage an ongoing family enterprise. Professional advisors (CPA’s, attorneys, brokers, etc.) give the best advice possible within their areas of specialization. However, few are familiar enough with the family dynamics, or in a position to give the comprehensive guidance called for to make a smooth successful changeover after the death of a spouse. They do what they can but aren’t privy to the family’s big picture. The surviving spouse is on their own to pull it all together and make major final decisions. Expecting a surviving

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spouse to simply pick up where the other left off does not work for a number of reasons:


Relationships - Both spouses rarely have the same trust and rapport with their advisors as the one who interacts with them the most.

2. 3.

Familiarity - When the less active spouse takes over, effectiveness and efficiency are naturally reduced.

Independence - Both spouses may have agreed on goals, but the survivor will invariably have their own ideas and manner of doing things.


No crystal ball – It’s impossible to predict future events (health issues, family differences, business demands, economic conditions, law changes, and countless other issues) that impact decision making. A surviving spouse faces all this while experiencing what psychologists call the most stressful event of all: the death of a spouse. Complicating matters further, during the average grieving period (18 months), research indicates

a much higher likelihood of impaired judgement and inability to focus.

What the wealthiest families do

To provide for the continuity of family wealth through such times of extreme change, the world’s wealthiest families create and maintain a dedicated third party “family office”. They employ an experienced staff with systems to provide the family the support they need to make the very best wealth decisions possible, under all circumstances. Bringing up the idea of establishing a “family office” for families with less than a few hundred million dollars in assets usually generates comments such as: “Family offices are only for the super-rich”; “They’re very expensive to set up, and even more expensive to operate”; or, “A fullblown family office is far more than my family needs… it’s overkill”. These statements and concerns are valid only if you are envisioning a traditional “single family office” model with an in-house staff that does everything from paying bills to walking dogs.

What you can do

Today’s “multi-family offices” are much more accessible, affordable, nimble, and customizable than any “single family office”. They serve numerous families simultaneously and operate efficiently and effectively. Modern family offices exist to help you plan, enrich and grow your family wealth in good times, protect and clean up in the aftermath of bad, and keep your family prepared for the variety of life transitions that will inevitably occur. A good one will scale services tailored to your needs and budget. A proficient family office can actually be expected to pay for itself (usually in the first year) by saving you time and money that is now unnecessarily spent, avoiding foreseeable dangers, and identifying viable opportunities. A family office does not replace your current advisory team; it compliments, facilitates, and enhances it. Professional advisors (attorneys, CPAs, investment managers, bankers, etc.) work much better together with a family office coordinating their collaboration and eliciting their best ideas.

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Each specialist gets to apply their unique ability, interacting with other members of the team and communicating in an organized way resulting in more precise documents and plans that are much more cohesive. A team of advisors orchestrated by a central family office with a common vision of your family’s goals becomes a concerted effort to support you, your spouse, and your children through adversity, and positions you in a way to avoid danger and capitalize on opportunity when either presents itself.

A plan that works

Brenda and her husband Ed engaged a multi-family office to help them operate and grow their family enterprise, and to be there for the transition in the event of one spouse’s death. Though they had no children together, Ed had two adult sons from a previous marriage who were included in their estate plan. A few years into the plan Ed, who played the lead role in operating the family enterprise, had a stroke and passed away. With their family office in place and Brenda’s experience working with them, she was able to step in and take control of the decision-making, even though she was grieving.

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While settling Ed’s estate, tension developed between Brenda and her step- sons. For some reason, trusting relationships between them while Ed was alive became more guarded, suspicious, and contentious: early warning signs of a discourse which could tear the family apart and destroy the family’s wealth. To get to the root of the trouble, Brenda called a family meeting facilitated by their family office. With everyone present (including the estate attorney), the venue and dialogue allowed each to air their concerns. They

discovered a misunderstanding by the children based on a statement Ed had made years earlier when the estate was assumed to be much larger than when he died. The children, who thought they were being shorted, realized the truth and the conversation quickly turned to back to more productive family matters.

Not all family offices are created equal

When considering family offices, be sure to select one that is and has a history as a competent fiduciary; one that demonstrates prioritizing their clients’ needs before their own. When evaluating a family office, it is also important to ask: l When will I see a return on my investment? A family office should not be an expense, but an investment that returns much more to you that you invest (ROI) by helping you make profitable financial decisions, avoiding costly mistakes, and eliminating unnecessary taxes and fees. lH ow efficient is it? A quality family office is goals oriented, focusing on your most important issues and simplifying decision making with measurable results rather than offering numerous, non-essential, concierge-type services. l What is its breadth? Many family offices are strong in one area and weak in others (accounting, legal, banking, investing, etc.). An effective one is comprehensive, supporting the planning and administration of cash flow, asset management, and a family-values-driven estate plan. lW here is its focus? In order to assure objectivity look for a family office that is first and foremost a family office, not an investment company, bank, accounting, or law firm offering family office services. Conflicts of interests make it difficult to offer as an additional service.

James F. Thomas, Jr., (Buddy) is the Founder and Chief Planning Officer of Superior Planning, Inc., a multi-family office established in 1982 and based in La Jolla, CA. Superior Planning, Inc. currently serves 40 families in California and throughout the United States. Buddy can be reached at 858-546-1046 or buddy@superplan.com Kelly Nilsson, CFP, has been the Planning and Compliance Officer of Superior Planning, Inc. since 2010. With more than 20 years’ experience interacting directly with client families, advisory team professionals, and major financial institutions in the personal financial services industry, Kelly is uniquely qualified to meet the rigorous demands of providing the very best family wealth insights, guidance and services available anywhere. Kelly can be reached at kelly@superplan.com Family wealth prudently handled has the potential to be a source of joy and confidence for your entire family. It can give each member the freedom to grow and flourish in their own way at their own natural pace. Working together also goes a long way to bring a family closer.

Family offices don’t just happen

The time and investment necessary to locate a suitable family office may seem like an insurmountable barrier. After all, where can you find: l Capable staff who get know you and your family so well they can support you in making important decisions; l An inclusive organization to coordinate your existing and future advisors; l A flexible system that is responsive enough to adapt in good times and bad; and l A dependable team that is there when you need them most? As it is, your family depends on you to make the decisions that affect their financial health today and for generations to come. How would they fair without you? Fortunately, the family office solution is more accessible now than ever. n

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“If you care about your impact on the world and your family, read Your Meaning Legacy. It will teach you how to pass on what’s most important.” —Kevin Cashman, Global Head of CEO & Executive Development, Korn Ferry and Bestselling Author of Leadership from the Inside Out Download FREE Chapter

You Are Worth More Than Your Stuff Leave a Legacy That Matters Estate planning traditionally focuses on your financial assets—your stuff. But what about your other assets? Such as your wisdom, values, beliefs, and experiences. These are essential to pass on as well. In Your Meaning Legacy, legacy planning expert Laura Roser reveals a step-by-step approach to cultivating, capturing and passing on what matters most.

Your Unique Life Path Is as Common as … SEEING A UNICORN The Comfort of Predictable Experiences By Laura A. Roser


o you get this unicorn craze? At first it was kinda fun—college kids at business networking events calling themselves “unicorn entrepreneurs” or little girls licking rainbow candy shaped like poop. But I’m afraid it’s gotten out of hand. Last week, I attended the San Diego County Fair and, after seeing a full-grown woman wearing a unicorn horn and a turquoise fur onesie covered in glitter, I decided that a) unicorns are not as unique as mythology would indicate and b) everyone’s behavior of hopping on the unicorn trend to prove their “uniqueness” (by being like everyone else) is one of those odd things we humans do.

You Are Simultaneously Unique and Common

Just in case you haven’t been out much and still associate the term unicorn with a fantasy creature that is impossible to find, I assure you unicorns are everywhere. Just at the fair, they had unicorn ice cream, unicorn candy, unicorn cookies, a unicorn play area for kids, unicorn stickers, unicorn t-shirts, unicorn headbands, unicorn caramel apples … I could keep going, but I don’t want to bore you.

It Feels Like a Unicorn Event to You, But Life Has a Predictable Rhythm

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Life is strange because when you’re going through it, it’s easy to become isolated and feel alone, highly unique, or misunderstood. Are you feeling complete despair over losing your job? What about struggling through your first pregnancy? How about the joy of acing your driver’s test? Or enjoying a piece of your mom’s apple pie? The truth is your experiences are being had by millions—maybe even billions—of people around the world.

When we’re able to take an aerial view of our lives and see our progression from a detached perspective, we realize that life is a series of events that don’t differ much from others’ experiences: We’re born > learn to crawl, walk, talk > make friends

and enemies > learn our preferences > have good stuff Don’t Discount Your Uniqueness, But happen > have bad stuff happen > see our bodies grow Remember How You Fit in With the Larger strong and then decline > and so on. Picture Of course, there are some super rare problems If we do not take the greater perspective, it’s easy (diseases that only a handful of people struggle with, to feel as if life is a series of unpredictable events that for example), and there are some super rare attributes, we must respond to. It’s easy to have resistance, which successes, or talents (most people aren’t billionaires, leads to fear of what’s coming next. When, really, most people aren’t basketball stars, etc.). But whether what’s coming next is completely predictable. you’re feeling despair over a rare heart condition or a common cancer diagnosis, the emotions are quite Think of these common impossible desires: similar. And whether you’re in love and romancing your partner with a picnic in the park or a five-star l “I want to be young forever.” (Wrinkle cream vacation at the Four Seasons in Paris, the feelings are companies and plastic surgeons make billions similar. You want to impress, you want to please, you addressing this desire.) want to connect more deeply, and you want affection. l “I want to protect my children from pain.” l “I shouldn’t have gotten __________.” (Fill in the Why does any of this matter? blank … “cancer,” “divorced,” “my leg run over in a car accident.”) It matters because life is confusing, and knowing that you aren’t alone or unique provides comfort—a It all feels so unfair, unreal, uncomfortable, and model to follow. Why spend your life trying to reinvent completely unique to you. But it’s not. the wheel? Learning about how others have coped or

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thrived in similar situations gives you a foundation to leverage your experiences and create a higher quality life. Knowing that most entrepreneurs had extreme moments of doubt before they hit it big gives you strength to move forward despite a major setback in your own business. Knowing that life ends for everyone gives you motivation to plan for a peaceful decline and savor every drop of your existence or, at least, make it as palatable as possible. Knowing that a breakup makes you feel like your heart is being ripped out gives you the fortitude to stay strong and make it through the tough feelings.

Literal Family vs. Family of Humanity

Wisdom comes from many sources. Your literal family—your parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles, siblings—all have stories and experiences you can learn from. Because they are connected to you by blood and your identity sprung from their existence, family stories are especially potent. This can be good and bad. Your family’s history of alcoholism could make you fear that you will become an alcoholic yourself. Your mother’s tenacity and work ethic could give you a respect for hard work and the courage to stick to difficult tasks until you’ve reached your goal. Your literal family, however, isn’t your only source of wisdom. In fact, being too closely associated with

your family can severely limit you. What if you actually are the only unicorn in your family? Maybe everyone in your family is an accountant, but you want to be an artist. Does that mean you should throw away your dreams and brace yourself for a career filled with spreadsheets? No! You can search for the best examples of what you want to model. All of humanity is available as a source of inspiration. This means if you’re feeling stuck, misunderstood, ashamed, or depressed, there are others— many others—who have had the exact same feelings and overcame them. What did they do? How did they thrive? How did they make the most of their lives?

Developing Your Unique Legacy by Mimicking the Best

What do you want your legacy to be? Do you want to be wealthy? Read biographies of millionaires and billionaires. Do you want to be a star athlete? Learn how Michael Jordan did it. Do you want to have a close family? Learn how your neighbors ended up with such loving kids. This isn’t about copying someone else’s path exactly; this is about using their experiences as a springboard to create a unicorn legacy for yourself that is paradoxically unique to you, yet similar to the people you admire. We’re all destined for the same thing: to live for a short period of time and die. The quality of our lives and the legacy we leave behind is a direct result of how expertly we navigate our life path. Why leave that to chance when there are millions—maybe billions—who have the same issues, desires, and goals? What have they discovered that you haven’t? What mistakes have they made that you can avoid? And, when you think about your life on a continuum, try to project yourself into the future—10, 20 or 30 years. What will matter to you then that’s not as important now? If you don’t know, try learning about the experiences of others. Ask your parents, older friends, and colleagues if their viewpoints changed as they aged. Read books like The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, Your Meaning Legacy, or When Breath Becomes Air. Plan for a life of fulfillment rather than looking back and thinking, “Oops. I wish I had a little more perspective when I was younger.” The wisdom is there, if you look for it. n

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Laura A. Roser is the founder and CEO of Paragon Road, the #1 authority in meaning legacy planning. For more information about meaning legacy planning services, visit www.paragonroad.com.

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Timeless Wisdom: The Necessity of Madness Blaise Pascal’s Views on Rationality By Laura A. Roser


laise Pascal, the French mathematician, inventor, physicist, writer, and Christian philosopher, wrote in his work Pensées (“Thoughts”) in 1660-62:

Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness.

Simultaneously Embracing Reason and Lack of Reason

Life is full of paradoxes. Rarely are there black and white rules for anything. This is why, according to Pascal, we must be comfortable with inconsistencies. It takes a certain “madness” to embrace the ebbs and flows of life and to truly experience its mysteries and beauty.

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He goes on to write: If we submit everything to reason, our religion will be left with nothing mysterious or supernatural. If we offend the principles of reason, our religion will be absurd and ridiculous ... There are two equally dangerous extremes: to exclude reason, to admit nothing but reason.

A Logical Reason to Believe in God

Pascal proposes a highly logical argument in favor of religion. He acknowledges that it’s not possible to rationally justify religion, but does offer rational grounds in favor of religion. He suggests weighing out the pros and cons of believing in God. On the downside, if you bet that God does

not exist, you risk losing eternal happiness and a prime seat in heaven; on the upside, if your bet of God’s nonexistence turns out to be true, you gain a finite sense of independence in this life. The losses from not believing in God are much greater than the gains of being right about his nonexistence; therefore, it makes more sense to believe in God. Because we are imaginative by nature, our thoughts can override reason, which can lead to either truths or falsehoods. “Imagination,” writes Pascal, “decides everything: it produces beauty, justice, and happiness, which is the greatest thing in

the world.” Before this passage, however, he spends quite a bit of time warning about the dangers of an imagination leading us astray. Just as imagination can create beauty, it is also possible (and highly likely) for us to see beauty, justice, or happiness where it does not actually exist. For example, imagination causes us to trust people because they wear special clothes (i.e. a suit, lab coat, etc.), but when someone looks disheveled (but is much more logical than the person dressed as a doctor), we still trust the man or woman dressed as a doctor because of what our imagination sees in them, not based on the merits of their ideas. n

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Issue 15

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