When you open a retirement account, you’re preparing yourself for the future.

When you begin investing your money, you’re preparing yourself for the future.

Every four years, when the United States Presidential election rolls around and you cast a ballot, you’re preparing and helping to guide your future.

So why should philanthropic efforts be any different?

So often, when people are looking to get involved with a charity or impart some change in the world, they want to do it now. They don’t want to have to wait around and see what changes in a few months, years or decades. For many people, the time, money and effort put into doing some good needs to happen before our very eyes, or else all is lost.

But that is simply not true. While getting the instant gratification of handing money to someone in need may feel great and effect positive change in the moment, we shouldn’t let the future fall by the wayside. Yes, seeing your money or time make a difference is important, but so is knowing that your efforts will affect future generations to come.

If you’re looking to have a positive impact on the future generations, what better a place to start than where they’ll be spending a good bit of their time growing up: in school. Giving money towards education is taking a huge step towards investing in the future of your community and the leaders who will emerge.

While K-12 may seem like more of a foundational education rather than one that will have a large impact on the future, consider the following: children who don’t go to college make that decision while they’re still receiving a high school education. And those who receive a substandard high school education may be more inclined to skip college in favor of trade school or entering the workforce. By investing in K-12 education in your community, you’ll be investing in the next generation of students who will be excited to begin higher education. Elevated poverty and crime rates are both connected strongly with high school dropout rates around the country; if we can make an effort to better our educational standards by donating to schools, we may be able to improve those rates.

Investing or giving back to your higher education Alma mater(s) is also hugely beneficial, and can go towards running programs, establishing scholarships and improving the campus and educational foundation of the schools. Tomorrow’s leaders are being built today; giving philanthropically to education is investing in not only your future, but the future of the country.