State College, PA – There were about 100 of Centre Foundation’s Campbell Society members in attendance at Wednesday’s annual luncheon that featured Tom Rogerson, a family philanthropy expert at Wilmington Trust.


“It can be very difficult for families to talk about money or try to come up with a plan,” explained Molly Kunkel, Executive Director at Centre Foundation.  “Philanthropy is a way to start that conversation.”


Rogerson highlighted people’s tendencies to think in silos: things to discuss with attorney, financial advisor, and family.  He focused on the need to begin with a family plan that is all-inclusive and then move on to the second step of sharing that comprehensive plan with estate planning professionals.  In this way, the extended family is included in decisions and overall vision, making them a more cohesive team to take on future financial issues that will inevitably arise.


“People think that the stock market or a poor investment plan will be their downfall,” Kunkel noted. “However, research shows us that the biggest pitfalls when managing family finances are poor communication and trust among the family members themselves.”


In the same way that employers encourage teamwork for a productive working environment, Rogerson recommends investing in families in the same manner.  Rogerson leads families through a series of exercises to discover how family members communicate, how to use those different communication styles effectively, what types of philanthropic causes are important to each individual so that one particular direction is not dictated to successive generations, and ways to empower future family leaders to start learning about finances now.


“He has a lot of good ideas about how to prepare the next generation to make sound financial decisions, like taking over the family business or managing a portfolio,” said Heddy Kervandjian, a member of Centre Foundation’s board, who attended with her husband and also brought a friend to hear the presentation.


“Tom will be back in June and again in September to guide interested families through the ‘family governance’ exercises, as he likes to call them,” Kunkel said.  “Anyone who would like more information about these sessions should contact Centre Foundation’s office.”

See pictures from the event by clicking HERE.