Member Post: Researching the Next Generation of Philanthropy

Staying on top of trends in philanthropy is important to MCF and our many grantmaker members. Robyn Schein of The Minneapolis Foundation shares here a new project the foundation is involved in, learning more about the next generation of high capacity funders.

Working with multi-generational families is a priority of The Minneapolis Foundation. We have expanded our services to support families as they make charitable decisions and work to include the next generation in their family’s giving. Through our program Fourth Generation, we are also engaging young professionals in the community and the children of our donor advised fund holders through a hands-on experience in grantmaking.

While we have learned a lot about working with the next generation, we know we have just scratched the surface. Members of “Gen X” and “Gen Y” are the future – and increasingly current – leaders of philanthropy, but we know very little about how their philanthropy differs from that of previous generations. Previous studies have examined how non-profits and fundraisers might appeal to these “next gen” high-capacity funders, but no studies exist to date that illuminate how they think about, learn about, and engage in giving – in ways that are likely both similar yet substantially different from previous generations.

As a result, The Minneapolis Foundation is excited to partner with two national organizations to further research the giving interests and approaches of the next generation. We’ve joined with 21/64 and The Johnson Center for Philanthropy to conduct some first-of-its-kind research dedicated to understanding the philanthropic interests of the next generation. We’re in the process of collecting data from respondents ages 21-40 who are part of a family with significant giving capacity or are themselves the wealth creators in their family. Individuals do not need to have an established charitable vehicle (e.g. donor advised fund or private fund) to participate.

The Minneapolis Foundation and its partners will be disseminating findings nationally through reports, articles, presentations, and other venues. We also plan to share the results locally to support the philanthropic work of our community.

If you’d like to know more about this research, or if you or someone you know is interested in taking this survey, please contact me at rschein@mplsfoundation.org.

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