Friday, November 29, 2019

Rebounding From Tragedy: SILC Club Co-Hosts Panel Discussion About Foundations That Were Formed After The Loss Of Loved Ones

Editorial Note: As you know, our SILC Club presents a series of "after hours" meetings and presentations that address a wide variety of sustainability-related issues. Last month, our Club presented a unique panel about an urgent social concern.

We would appreciate your feedback about the session. If there is significant demand for it, we would be delighted to dedicate future Club meetings or Annual Conference sessions to this topic.

The Sustainability Investment Leadership Council (SILC), working in collaboration with the NYS Society of CPA's Family Office Committee, chaired by Phil Strassler, presented a panel on sustaining families in times of tragic loss. IceMiller generously hosted the breakfast meeting; it was attended by 42 people, including representatives of 20 family offices. Stanley Goldstein was the panel moderator.

Each of the three panelists prematurely lost a son; the causes were an opioid overdose, a car crash, and a drug addiction / suicide. The panelists launched foundations in memory of their deceased sons; they have devoted enormous efforts to sustaining and building those entities.

The presentation was well received. The foundation entities are well-balanced, with one brand new, one mature with no goal of getting larger, and one highly successful with major aspirations. There was a good deal of advice on raising money; two of the foundations have found significant success doing so. Interestingly, all of the families survived their tragedies intact, and are now stronger for their experiences. This is not typical, though; parental divorces and sibling sufferings are a great deal more common.

We touched upon the relationships of the charitable entities to the causes of the tragedies. The opioid addiction entity does major work in publicizing the problem, working with legislatures to reduce the causes of addiction, and to educate the public. The car crash and suicide charities do important community work; they keep alive the memories of the decedents, but they do not address the causes of the tragedies.

The audience was fully attentive and involved; many people spoke to the speakers privately. There is much more work to be done, whether under SILC auspices or elsewhere.