A New Generation of Philanthropists

Oct 30 2015

By Steven Olender

One of our favorite things about the CASA Superhero Run is that it provides kids throughout the community with the ability to do something for kids in tougher situations. Getting children involved in philanthropy early is important but it can be difficult, due to issues of liability, confidentiality and the general wellbeing of people served by nonprofits. So what can we do to teach kids the importance of early giving?

I think it comes down to reinforcing the importance of giving, rather than reinforcing to kids how lucky they are.  You can create a habit of giving with your kids just by teaching them, in large and small ways, that they are capable of making a difference.

I was particularly struck by the story I heard from CASA of Williamson County Board President Brian King when interviewing him about the CASA Superhero Run. He and his wife have brought their daughters to the run for the last four years and when they started the girls just thought it was a fun dress up day. The Kings made it a point to talk to their daughters about what they were doing every year and, over time, they understood more and more. They understand how lucky they are, but more importantly, they understand that they have  opportunity to help others. Last year, they decided to sell cookies at their school to support CASA and are committed to helping other kids whenever they can.

The Kings weren't the only kids who devote their time and energy to supporting CASA. This year, 718 kids under the age of ten put on their capes and masks to fly the course at the CASA Superhero Run. Together, they raised more than $6,000 to support CASA. Those kids are already making a huge impact for CASA, but if they continue to learn to use their super powers for good, they will make an enormous impact for people in need.

CASA is fortunate to get the support of many young philanthropists well beyond our CASA Superhero Run.  Young children regularly hold their own fundraisers for CASA, including two sets of four kids who each held lemonade stands to support CASA, in September alone. Kids regularly donate their birthdays to CASA by asking that people give donation of money or toys to CASA instead of giving them gifts, including Caleb, who brought in his donations this week.  In March, an 8th grade English class from Kealing Middle School held an art auction inspired by books and poetry and chose CASA of Travis County as their beneficiary.

But it isn't just through fundraising that kids can help out. Every year, parents engage their kids to help them purchase gifts for the CASA Holiday Toy Drive. When they are selling cookies, Girl Scouts ask people to buy an extra box for CASA kids. Child volunteers with Little Helping Hands put together super suckers for our volunteers to hand out at the CASA Superhero Run and the mothers and daughters of the National Charity League Lake Travis Chapter made up the core of our volunteers for the day of the race.

There are endless ways to engage children in helping others. Making philanthropy a consistent part of your child's life helps them realize, not just that they are lucky to have the things that they have, but that they are powerful in their ability to help others.


Do your kids have an idea for how they want to help CASA kids? Contact us at 512.539.2981 or solender@casatravis.org.