Marius Jakulis Jason, one of the wealthiest investors and philanthropists in Lithuania, recently publicly announced that he is leaving 70 per cent of his family assets to his foundation. The entrepreneur, who has such an innovative approach, is one of few in Lithuania who has established his own philanthropic foundation and is probably the first to publicly speak about the need to share your success and prepare for it today and not only after death.
Philanthropy is not new in Lithuania. As the first generation of independent Lithuania grew up, the desire to share grew with it too. Although Lithuania is still near the bottom of the World Giving Index, we are already seeing how the interest is increasing, and progress in supporting social projects, culture, education, environmental safety, and entrepreneurship is growing.
Marius Jakulis Jason Foundation, a philanthropic fund established by the well-known investor, which provides financial support to talented business developers, academics and students who can and want to contribute to the creation of Lithuania’s future, will soon celebrate its second birthday. Marius is honest about the fact that the idea of this foundation has initially been to establish it only after death. “I was dreaming about establishing a foundation for some time and one of the conditions of my will was to provide support for Lithuania through the fund. Only after I was encouraged by my wife Liisa I realized – if change can be made today, why wait?” shares Marius.
After the declaration of independence, the Lithuanian-born businessman had returned from the United States. He does not hide that for what he has created and achieved, he is grateful to Lithuania: “Lithuania has given me opportunities that I could not dream of in New York. That is exactly why today I want to invite young academics, students, entrepreneurs to return to Lithuania and help them create success here.”
Setting up a support fund and starting it was not just a spontaneous decision. “I wanted to set up a foundation that would last long after my death. Undoubtedly, today the opportunity to help the youth create the future of Lithuania provides great joy and pleasure, but I realized that only the effort of today would ensure the existence of the foundation tomorrow,” says the philanthropist.
Everything started with the idea to establish the foundation only after death. Now it has up to 5 million EUR and the will, which holds 70 per cent of its assets to be left for the nurturing of Lithuania’s future. According to the founder, the end result will only be better due to an early start – during this time, a clear formation of team and structure, prepared investment strategy and increased awareness of the fund were established, and these aspects will ensure Foundation’s longevity. “I am assured that my wealth will not simply be distributed as a charity. An investment strategy prepared together with a team of professionals will allow the fund to grow and increase support opportunities. Now I understand that if I had continued with the original idea of my will and the foundation, we would not have the results of today or of the future,” says Marius.
Although the planning of future asset management and inheritance has become a very relevant topic, we still do not have much experience about it in Lithuania. Therefore, it is unsurprising that it still hasn’t reached the priority list. These questions are usually postponed not only because they bring uneasy and unpleasant conversations to light but also because it is a time-consuming process.
A member of the Marius Jakulis Jason foundation board and the manager of “Orion Wealth” Mindaugas Strėlis states that preparation which is long and well thought over is one of the main formulas for successful planning. “You understand what a family or business really needs, what everyone wants and how to implement it only when you start planning. It is never too early to start planning, but it is possible to be too late,” says M. Strėlis.
Asset and inheritance planning is far from merely the selection and appointment of heirs. It is crucial to ensure that wealth not only passes but also continues to flourish. For first-generation entrepreneurs, the hardest thing is to think about it in advance. “We will not deny that the majority of the most successful businesses start with one or more essential people. However, the main goal is to have a team that understands your vision and can further develop it. It is indeed impossible to put together such a team and set goals for it in one day,” states M. Strėlis.
According to him, Marius Jakulis Jason is an excellent example of estate planning for all Lithuanian entrepreneurs. “I am glad that together with the ‘Orion Securities’ team we could contribute to the establishment of the foundation as well as the family asset planning. I will admit that the creation of the final structure took more than one year, however the greatest added value undoubtedly is that in all this time Marius with his family were able to select the people they wished to work with, prepare them, ingrain his values and knowledge which are essential for estate longevity.
With the growing popularity of inheritance planning and philanthropy in Lithuania, Marius Jakulis Jason hopes that the example of his family will inspire others not to linger but to make changes today. Both philanthropy and proper inheritance planning remarkably contribute to the development of the Lithuanian economy: one directly supports promising branches of the economy while the other ensures the development of a solid and stable Lithuanian business.
Above all is not to be afraid to do good works aloud and not to be afraid to do them today. We can encourage one another only by showing an example, and only together we can achieve high results.