Threshold Group creates private family forum to address the human/social challenges of wealth

GIG HARBOR, WA / PHILADELPHA, PA - For many families of affluence, the toughest challenges are sometimes less about wealth and more about well-being. To help families manage a widening range of pressing social and human issues that accompany wealth, Threshold Group is introducing The Community Square. The Community Square is a collaborative forum aimed at connecting top independent specialists with a peer-driven community of private families.

The forum will be launched this fall with a private event for client families in Chicago, Illinois. The event itself is limited to Threshold’s client families in order to ensure a secure setting for private discussion. However, many of the general findings, discoveries and informative tools from the forum will be shared with families and advisory groups at large for educational purposes. The premise of The Community Square is for families and advisors alike to come together to discuss common issues of concern, including:

Parenting - Raising healthy, happy, productive children in a complex world

Family philanthropy – Giving together as a family and engaging the next generation in the stewardship philosophy

Family leadership – Planning for successful legacies and transitioning leadership from one generation to the next.

“Knowing that no one person has all the answers to these complex issues, we believe that bringing our client families together with experts to share, explore and engage in conversations around the topics will help our families navigate these difficult waters,” said Kristen Bauer, Managing Director at Threshold Group. “Many of the families who employ our services have candidly shared that they often feel alone in dealing with these issues. By interacting with peers, they realize they are not alone in their journey. The most meaningful learning occurs when we allow for conversations between families in a confidential and non-threatening environment.”

In the sessions, Threshold will partner with experts to provide facilitation and specialized expertise. This year’s specialists include Joline Godfrey, CEO of Independent Means and author of Raising Financially Fit Kids, Sarah Hopper of Sound Philanthropy, and Mae Hong/Walter Sweet of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors,

Godfrey describes The Community Square as, “…the 21st century version of a potluck supper. It’s a gathering of family members sharing their personal experiences as well as learning from others experiences. Members will feel comforted in knowing they are not alone and will leave with the knowledge and inspiration to help grow their families from good to great.”

“In a time of unnerving market volatility, we want to take time to focus on some of the issues apart from investment portfolios. Many of our families are asking for advice on legacy issues or inter-personal family challenges and goals that reach beyond financial assets and tax strategies,” said Bauer. “Investment issues are important, but families also want to discuss how to raise motivated, well-rounded, healthy and financially aware children. Families want to learn how to instill a collaborative approach to charitable giving and how to balance entrepreneurial opportunity with community aspirations and needs.”

“In my experience, the best and most inspirational learning comes from sharing stories and experiences with peers,” said Sarah Hopper, CEO and Principal Advisor at Sound Philanthropy LLC. “This approach with The Community Square is designed to provide a safe and confidential platform for this sharing of stories and information.”

The Community Square is an outgrowth of several client-networking communities created by Threshold Group. The Parenting Community, the most recent of the networking groups provided the genesis for The Community Square. Family members who participated in The Parenting Community said they wanted to continue to explore parenting issues as well as other interrelated topics.

“We will sustain The Parenting Community and their specific interests, but we also want to be able to respond to a wider range of issues being raised by our family clients,” said Bauer. “The Community Square will become a forum in which our families can help us define the priorities for their own peer-focused learning and exploration.”

A series of published articles and white papers will provide an avenue for sharing information and qualitative findings while protecting the integrity and privacy of discussions within the community of families.

“This is about creating a holistic, collective impact,” said Bauer. “Our clients will learn from the experts and from one another. We, as an advisor to families, will also learn from this exchange. Our end game is to raise the overall level of competence and confidence among all families of wealth, and specifically our clients.”

For those interested in receiving updates or published information from The Community Square, please contact Kristen Bauer at or Kevin Sheehan at Threshold Group / / provides investment guidance, financial planning, legacy planning and family office services for families and private foundations that require a comprehensive and personalized approach to wealth advisory services. The independent, family-owned firm oversees $3 billion in assets and employs approximately 40 associates with four offices in Gig Harbor, WA; Philadelphia, PA; Portland, OR; and Seattle, WA. Threshold was founded as a family office by the members of the Russell family, who created Frank Russell Company (now Russell Investments), a global investment leader best known for the Russell stock indices and wide range of independently researched investment products and services. All data based on assets under advisement as of 3/1/2012.