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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Modest incomes but big hearts

Washington Post

While I’m away, readers give the advice.

On not waiting for wealth before becoming philanthropists:

Several years ago my cousins and I were drinking wine and talking about what we would do if we won the lottery. We all agreed we would start a charity to provide college scholarships at the high school that has been so much a part of our family history.

After another glass of wine we decided we did not need to win the lottery to fund scholarships. We started researching rules for starting a tax-exempt charity. It took numerous phone calls and several months but we did it. We had a tax number and were a legitimate charity.

We have funded scholarships by garage sales, but our most successful event was a family golf tournament and dinner. We just asked for contributions and the money rolled in. Family members have also made memorial donations to honor a loved one. We have funded nine $1,000 scholarships and have money in the bank for future scholarships.

– C.

On being less rigid about the ways relatives can interact with your children:

When my sister’s kids were younger, but the oldest two were old enough to be more independent, their uncle would suggest doing things with the two older ones that the other two were not old enough for yet. The parents’ reply was that it was not fair to the younger two for the older two to get that activity with their uncle.

Years later, the older ones are in college and only the youngest is left. Now there are no objections to the uncle and the youngest spending time.

Parents … let your kids spend time with their relatives without requiring that EVERY child be included in EVERY activity. It’s not fair to the relatives, and it’s not fair to the kids.

– J.

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