Many people have told me that it is more difficult to give money away than to earn it. The general instinct to support charitable organizations and causes may come naturally, but the question remains: which ones?

When I started at Wake Forest University I took ROTC, knowing my plan was to enlist in the Army upon graduation. I had one thing standing in my way: poor eyesight as a result of a detached retina. My sophomore year I qualified for Advanced ROTC. Thanks partially to my place in line, I had plenty of time to memorize the smallest characters on the eye exam next to the door. However, on the first day of a required six week summer camp at Fort Bragg, NC prior to my senior year, I entered the eye testing area from the back of the room and—without the chance to study the chart—I failed the eye exam. I was classified as 4F (unfit for service) and spent less than 24 hours in the Army while all of my ROTC class shipped off to Vietnam. Some may look at this as a good break, but my one life regret is that I didn’t serve in the military. This experience is at the core of my strong feelings for those who serve our country as well as my lifelong support of military non-profits.

Our life experiences are often a good starting point when deciding where to gift money. If you had $100,000 that you had to give away to someone other than a family member, what would you support?

Here are some beginning steps to get started:

  1. What specific causes move you or have had an impact on your life?
  2. Identify the non-profits that best address this need.
  3. Start small and increase your gifting as you get more comfortable with the organizations.
Hill Investment Group