11/01/2012 12:06 pm ET Updated Jan 01, 2013

Establish A Tradition of Giving

My three children are beginning to understand the importance of supporting organizations which give back to the community. Two years ago at Christmas, I gave each of them a set amount of money that they could choose to donate to charity. I filled a manila folder with information about local, national and international non-profits. We then discussed each cause in turn, (hopefully) broadening their understanding of what was going on in our country -- and the world.

This year, I'm going to introduce the concept at Thanksgiving. And I'm going to ask them to do some research on their own -- I'm still figuring out a way to incentivize that. They'll have a full month to decide which organizations they think should get "grants" from "The Sarnoff Foundation." I'm considering making three levels of grants, and giving the highest amount to the most compelling presentation.

But giving money can't be all there is. My children have seen how getting directly involved with philanthropy can change your life. I spent much of the past two years as the Executive Director of Healthy Child Healthy World, and have been involved with that organization -- in one way or another -- since 2007.

And as of this week, I'll be consulting for Prototypes, an amazing organization that has four residential campuses throughout Southern California where children can stay with their mothers while they're undergoing treatment for substance abuse and mental health issues.

Visiting Prototypes has made me so thankful for how much my family and I have, and committed me to helping these incredibly determined families who are rebuilding their lives with so little.

I was inspired and humbled by the experience. I can't wait for the chance for my family to visit with me, so they can better understand how life-changing this work can be.

Isn't that what giving is all about?

Want to get inspired by philanthropy? On 11.27.12, Giving Tuesday inspires people to think beyond Black Friday and Cyber Monday in terms of giving to get, and shifts the focus to giving to give. I'll be co-hosting a twitter party today, Thursday, 11.1.12 at 9 PST/12 EST. Follow #GivingTuesday and I'll see you there!