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January 30, 2013

Press Release: Report Pulls Back Curtain On Next Gen Donors



CONTACT: Diana Lee, 646-200-5322,


New Report Pulls Back the Curtain On Next Generation of Philanthropists

Inheriting Unprecedented $40 Trill, Respecting Legacy but Advancing Innovative Philanthropic Strategies, Young Donors are More Hands-On and Highly-Networked, Report Finds

New York, NYA new report from 21/64 and the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy provides an in-depth study of next generation donors, those who are inheriting an unprecedented $40 trillion and are poised to be the most significant philanthropists in history. The report, Next Gen Donors: Respecting Legacy, Revolutionizing Philanthropy, looks at how the major donors of tomorrow approach their giving and how that differs – and remains the same – from their parents and their grandparents. The report looks to start a conversation, with and about #nextgendonors.

The report is the most comprehensive of its kind, drawing from 310 surveys from high-capacity donors and 30 in-depth individual interviews. It provides a much-needed glimpse into these young donors who represent the future of philanthropy, but about whom we know very little.

Through analysis of the survey responses and dozens of candid statements direct from next gen donors, the report reveals:

  • Next generation donors want meaningful, hands-on engagement with the causes that they care about and want to develop close relationships with the organizations they give to, giving their time and talent as well as their treasure.
  • Next generation donors are highly networked with their peers, learning about causes from trusted friends and sharing philanthropic experiences with peer networks.
  • Next generation donors seek to maintain the difficult balance of respecting the legacy of previous generations and revolutionizing philanthropy for greater impact, aiming to use new, innovative, even risky strategies to make their giving more effective.
  • For next generation donors, philanthropy is a part of who they are; it is not just something they do. They start developing their philanthropic identity from an early age by learning through hands-on experiences looking to older generations, and they are eager for new personal experiences that will help them learn to be better philanthropists.

“Until now, there has been little research on this small but influential cohort of young people who hold the future of major philanthropy in their hands,” said Michael Moody, Frey Foundation Chair for Family Philanthropy at the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy. “This study helps us move beyond our preconceptions about next gen donors, and shows – somewhat surprisingly – that they have some strong similarities to previous generations of donors, even while clearly wanting to make big changes in how philanthropy is done. These major donors of tomorrow are proactively creating their philanthropic identities right now, and this process will shape the philanthropic field for decades to come, as these donors confront immense, complex social problems.”

“We don’t have to wait 40 years for next gen donors to have an impact. Many currently sit on foundation boards; have set up their own philanthropic vehicles with strategic grantmaking, and some are already teaching their own kids about giving,” said Sharna Goldseker, Managing Director of 21/64. “As this survey reveals, the imprint of next gen donors can be seen in their innovative approaches to funding and investing, hands-on engagement, and the influence of peer networks.”


The Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy, at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Mich., serves foundations, nonprofits, and others seeking to transform their communities for the public good. The Center conducts original research and evaluation, teaches effective practices and provides practical tools, and collects and displays community data. The Center works extensively throughout the state of Michigan, nationally, and internationally. The Frey Foundation Chair for Family Philanthropy at the Center is the nation’s only endowed chair focused on improving the understanding and practice of family philanthropy.

ABOUT 21/64

21/64 is a nonprofit consulting practice that specializes in next generation and multigenerational strategic philanthropy. Initially founded as a division of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, 21/64 is built on the premise that next generation funders have their own values, visions, and voices to bring to the philanthropic table. As families engage the next generation in foundations, donor-advised funds, and family offices, these endeavors can be opportunities for families to work together, yet challenges can and often do arise when multiple generations begin to make decisions together. 21/64 offers coaching, consulting, speaking, training and uniquely developed resource tools to assist families and their advisors during these times of generational transitions.


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