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Portraits of young philanthropists


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Meet the next generation of philanthropists revolutionizing the world of charitable giving.

In a new series of articles from The EIU, sponsored by Fidelity Charitable, we introduce the entrepreneurs, financiers, and heirs donating their money, time and talent to charitable causes.

As we prepare for the largest transfer of intergenerational wealth in history, find out more about how these fresh faces will shape the future of philanthropy.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Portraits of young philanthropists

  1. 1. September 2014 Portraits of young philanthropists: How Generation X and Generation Y are transforming charitable giving Sponsored by
  2. 2. September 2014 Portraits of young philanthropists: The next generation of philanthropists Informed, committed, innovative and engaged, Generation X and Generation Y philanthropists are quickly changing the world of charitable giving. And, by some measures, these groups of individuals, born after 1965 (Gen X from 1966 to 1976 and Gen Y from 1977 to 1994), may be the most powerful generations the philanthropic world has ever seen. According to John Havens and Paul Schervish from the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College, roughly $41trn will be transferred to these generations via the previous ones by 2052, the largest transfer of wealth in the history of the US. “As wealth becomes more concentrated, next-gen individuals will potentially be our biggest philanthropists ever,” says Dr Michael Moody, Frey Foundation chair at the Johnson Center for Philanthropy in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “It’s a relatively small group of people, but they will have an outsized impact on the philanthropic landscape.” Who are these young, influential philanthropists, and how are they already leaving their mark on the world of charitable giving? These are the principal questions answered in a series of reports that detail three prominent categories of young philanthropists: entrepreneurs, financiers and heirs. To find answers, we turn to leading experts in the field—as well as young philanthropists themselves. In our exploration, we highlight differences with previous generations, while also identifying important distinctions within young philanthropists’ own ranks. Katherina Rosqueta, founding executive director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for High Impact Philanthropy and faculty member at the School of Social Policy & Practice, explains that every philanthropist is unique and approaches charity through the lens of his or her own specific life circumstances. “People bring who they are, what they know and who they know to giving,” she says. Nevertheless, while recognising that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for any group of individuals, Gen X and Gen Y philanthropists remain united by a combination of factors: an increasingly global mindset, an active engagement in giving and a strong desire to have a measureable, enduring impact. Globally committed As globalisation and technological advances expand their horizons and connect them instantly to the rest of the world, Gen X and Gen Y philanthropists have developed a broader canvas and a deeper understanding of different communities than did their parents and grandparents. “Young givers don’t just embrace multiculturalism. They are multicultural by nature,” says Aimee Laramore, associate director of the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving at Indiana University’s Lily Family School of Philanthropy. Indeed, the growing popularity of global causes over the past 10 years largely reflects the growing influence of members of Gen X and Gen Y in philanthropy, Ms Laramore notes, if not necessarily their direct action. Since the Giving USA Foundation began tracking donations to the Sponsored by
  3. 3. September 2014 international affairs sector in 1987, those charities’ share of philanthropic gifts has risen steadily. According to the 2014 Giving USA report, while only 3% of charitable gifts went to the international affairs sector in 1999–2003, this percentage doubled to 6% in 2004–2008 and remained at that level in 2009–2013. “Generation X and Y philanthropists are interested in contributing to their local communities but also their global community,” affirms Dr Una Osili, director of research at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. The international worldview embraced by Gen X and Gen Y philanthropists reflects cultural influences and growing global connectedness, but these donors also share the formative experiences of school-mandated community service and outreach programmes like Teach for America and AmeriCorps, founded in 1989 and 1993, respectively. As a result, they learned to look outside their own communities starting from an early age. Ms Laramore further explains, “Young philanthropists are embracing giving, not as something they do on the side, but something central to who they are.” Actively engaged Traditional philanthropy has often been about providing funding for and potentially sitting on the board of an established charitable organisation. The next generation of givers is substantially broadening their philanthropic toolkit by pursuing additional approaches that are both more active and more technologically innovative. Connected in myriad ways and active on multiple fronts, young philanthropists rely on the Internet and advances in communications technology to underpin the full range of their charitable activities. In particular, technology helps younger generations to research issues instantly and reach out to their peers and the wider public for support. According to Dr Osili, Gen X and Gen Y philanthropists are successfully “using technology as a tool to connect with people” and to create “virtual communities” of charitable givers. Dr Moody agrees, explaining that Gen X and Gen Y philanthropists are “not just about delivering time, talent and treasure, but also their social network or ties. They are sharing their extended social network as a valuable resource to a charity they care about.” Yet young givers don’t hide behind a screen—they show up and get things done in person. According to Dr Moody, the younger generation of philanthropists is uniquely hands-on compared with the less engaged style of older generations. “They want to be engaged in an organisation in a meaningful way, rolling up their sleeves, sitting down and solving problems,” he says. And they’re reluctant to make a commitment to charitable giving unless they have the time to involve themselves fully. Sharna Goldseker, executive director of 21/64, a non-profit philanthropic consultancy, says she hears young givers remark frequently about their available “bandwidth” for taking on charitable activities. “They commit on so many different levels,” she says. Seeking results “Gen X and Y are all about impact,” says Ms Rosqueta, whose staff largely focuses on how individuals can achieve the most significant results in the areas where they want to concentrate their giving. “Because of their focus on impact,” Ms Rosqueta notes, “young philanthropists are seeing opportunities everywhere.” They might get behind a company and buy its products if it’s the right fit with their view of the world, she explains, or use investment capital to invest in a company focused on social issues. “They are using their money in many different ways to pursue their philanthropic goals—not just providing a grant to a non-profit,” she says. This desire to see a practical, tangible result means the young generation of givers is focused on data, measurement and demonstrable results. More than any other generation, they want to check facts, know all the information ahead of time and ensure that they are well-informed at every stage of the process. “The older generation displayed institutional trust,” says Ms Laramore. “But the young philanthropist believes in strategic trust: ‘I will trust you based on what I see.’ They are definitely looking for demonstrated impact.” In many respects, young givers are breaking down preconceived notions of philanthropy. “We tend to think of a philanthropist as someone who is older, dies and leaves money behind,” says Ms Laramore. “But philanthropy literally means ‘love of human kind’. It’s important to understand that generosity is everywhere, and we are all capable of giving. Young givers are living that.” Sponsored by
  4. 4. September 2014 A wealth of vehicles Perhaps the most obvious choice philanthropists face is which causes to support—but choosing the right method of giving can be just as important. Now, more than ever, donors can use a variety of philanthropic vehicles to support giving, including private foundations, donor-advised funds, giving circles and many others. The below graph draws from a survey of 310 Gen X and Gen Y philanthropists conducted by the Johnson Center for Philanthropy and 24/7 for their 2013 “Next gen donors” report. It shows the relative popularity of different vehicles among these younger donors—and also how their methods compare with the vehicles their families use. Personal and family use of philanthropic vehicles (by percentage of respondents) CHECK CASH DONOR-ADVISED FUND WORKPLACE GIVING GIVING CIRCLE/POOLED FUND PRIVATE FOUNDATION BEQUEST CORPORATE GIVING — FAMILY BUSINESS GIFT ANNUITY CHARITABLE REMAINDER TRUST CHARITABLE LEAD TRUST OTHER Source: “Next gen donors”, the Johnson Center for Philanthropy and 24/7 84.8% 58.1 57.4 Personal Family (as reported by respondents) 32.6 23.9 60 17.1 10.3 14.8 4.8 11.6 53.5 6.5 11 5.2 21.6 2.9 8.7 0.6 11 0.6 7.7 7.4 1.9 0 20 40 60 80 100 Sponsored by
  5. 5. September 2014 Portraits of young philanthropists: Among the categories of Gen X and Gen Y philanthropists, business entrepreneurs—tech entrepreneurs in particular—stand out for their boldness and expertise in innovation and formulating new charitable models. In addition to making their mark on business, they are transforming the methodology of charitable giving. “The causes they give to are not all that different. . . . It’s the how they give that is different,” says Dr Michael Moody, Frey Foundation chair at the Johnson Center for Philanthropy in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Tech-led entrepreneurial giving According to a list compiled by the Chronicle of Philanthropy in February 2014, 3 of the 20 biggest charitable givers in the country last year arose—not surprisingly—from the tech industry. All three belong to Gen X and Gen Y: Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder of Facebook, and his wife, Priscilla Chan, topped the list as the most generous givers of 2013; the two other tech entrepreneurs in the top 20 were eBay co-founder Pierre Omidyar and Google co-founder Sergey Brin (along with their respective wives). In fact, most young philanthropist-entrepreneurs have emerged from this landscape, particularly Silicon Valley. They share a common worldview that things can be done better, and, armed with drive and self-confidence, they have their sights on improving the practice of philanthropy. Perhaps not surprisingly, in view of their entrepreneurial roots, this group is more skeptical of large organisations and prefers smaller, differentiated outfits and start-ups that may be more nimble and better able to respond to focused challenges. “When eBay founders, Omidyar and [Jeffrey] Skoll got the chance to be philanthropists, they were ultra-entrepreneurial,” says Dr Moody. “They started foundations, but they also started film companies, investment vehicles and media companies. They’ve really blurred the boundaries between philanthropy and business.” Taking risks for a cause Betting everything on a new idea or technology also gives many young entrepreneurs a personal, direct understanding of risk. So, when it comes to charitable giving, they are prepared to continue assuming more risk—whether by backing an untested idea, rolling out a local initiative nationwide or dramatically scaling up an existing programme. Sharna Goldseker, executive director of 21/64, a non-profit philanthropic consultancy, believes a willingness to take chances, in particular, is where Gen Xers excel. “Bold ideas are coming from Gen X. They respect their parents, but they want to solve problems, not just lead organisations. They’ve learnt to be resourceful, and they want to take on important new issues.” One high-profile example of risk-taking by a Gen Y philanthropist is Mark Zuckerberg’s 2010 gift of $100m to the troubled public school system of Newark, New Jersey. The gift came with the condition that control over the school district would partly revert from the state government, which had controlled Newark’s schools for 15 years, back to the local Idealistic entrepreneurs Sponsored by
  6. 6. Newark leadership. Besides showcasing Mr Zuckerberg’s willingness to fund ambitious initiatives, the gift exemplifies a new kind of “disruptive” model for philanthropy that seeks to forge new directions for established organisations. According to Katherina Rosqueta, founding executive director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for High Impact Philanthropy and a member of the faculty of the School of Social Policy & Practice, this confidence in their ability to improve outcomes is a hallmark of young entrepreneurs—tied to their embrace of disruptive innovation in the business sphere. Ultimately, these twin qualities of risk-taking and outsize self-assurance may be natural consequences of how entrepreneurs made their fortunes in the first place. “There is a comfort with risk that may not be there if you’ve inherited your wealth,” says Ms Rosqueta. “There’s a real sense that ‘this is mine, I made it, and I can take the full chance with it’.” Innovative giving models Entrepreneurs are also creating new vehicles for giving in response to experiences with larger organisations that may September 2014 use more traditional approaches and are less quick to react or change. One such vehicle is the “one-to-one” platform of giving made possible by the Internet. In these cases, donors are matched directly with an individual or cause needing funds. Kiva, an online micro-lending platform founded in 2005 by Gen Xers Matt Flannery and Jessica Jackley, is one illustration; through the platform, a schoolteacher in Africa who desperately needs supplies for her classroom can be given funds directly. Another important trend, if not outright innovation, is the blurring of boundaries between non-profit and for-profit charitable vehicles. While profit motives may make some more traditional philanthropists wince, young entrepreneurs have proven more comfortable with giving to for-profit companies that are directly engaged in making the world better. Empowering women in the developing world, for instance, can be achieved by non-profit organisations but also by enlightened corporations that provide fair wages and good working conditions. For entrepreneurial givers, it’s all about what really works. Dustin Moskovitz and Cari Tuna Ages: 30 & 29 Grants awarded since December 2011: More than $15m Focus: Healthcare, poverty in developing countries, other areas Goal: To donate the majority of their wealth, estimated at $7bn As a co-founder of social media giant Facebook, Dustin Moskovitz achieved phenomenal wealth in his early 20s. Not long after, he decided to give much of it away. In doing so, he and his wife, Cari Tuna, a former journalist with The Wall Street Journal, have become one of the premier power couples in 21st-century philanthropy. To further their ambitious mission to save and improve lives around the globe, Mr Moskovitz and Ms Tuna founded Good Ventures in 2011 as the main outlet for their charitable giving. Shortly thereafter, the couple signed the Giving Pledge, at the invitation of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, committing them to giving away most of their wealth and ensuring that they’d keep busy with their charitable endeavours. The couple explains: “The question that guides our work is, ‘How can we do the most good with the resources at our disposal?’ That means asking ourselves questions like, ‘Can we do more good by funding scientific research or policy advocacy? How do giving opportunities in those areas compare with opportunities in foreign aid or mitigating potentially catastrophic risks to humanity’s future?’ These questions don’t have straightforward answers, of course, but we’re using them to help chart our course.” A focus on transparency and information-sharing distinguishes the couple’s unique approach to giving. As they research causes, they are publishing everything they find on their foundation’s website. “Sharing what we’re learning, with detail and honesty, is really important to us,” they say. “We see transparency as a way to magnify our impact. If we make what we’ve learned available to others, and vice versa, the field of philanthropy will be able to iterate much faster with less duplication of effort. Transparency is also a way to invite feedback on our process and conclusions.” And as for their scope, both Mr Moskovitz and Ms Tuna strive to enhance and deepen the personal connections in an increasingly globalised world. “The world is our community,” they say. “We are both focused on how to help the most people globally, whereas while we were growing up, our parents tended to focus on caring for family and people in their local communities.” But they add that both their parents recently have become more active in giving globally—just one of the noticeable effects the younger generation of givers is having on others, even within their own families. Sponsored by
  7. 7. September 2014 Portraits of young philanthropists: Since the days of the Rothschilds and J. P. Morgan, successful bankers and financiers have been instrumental in shaping the world of philanthropy. Even in more recent times, hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones famously created the Robin Hood Foundation, a trailblazing non-profit organisation that fights poverty in New York City and pioneered the market-based, metrics-focused approach known as “venture philanthropy”. Equally notable examples of philanthropists from the world of hedge funds include George Soros, founder of Soros Fund Management, and Louis Bacon, founder of Moore Capital Management. As influential as this established group of professionals has already been, a new generation of financiers is emerging as leaders in charitable giving. These newcomers are uniting their passion for investing with an intense desire to transform the world for the better—the results have been nothing less than dramatic. This is true in large part because “their information and social networks are unprecedented”, explains Carra Cote-Ackah, a director of partnerships and strategic initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for High Impact Philanthropy. “They can reach out for relevant information, conduct due diligence, activate their network and, once they have all the information, make decisions incredibly quickly.” A no-nonsense, East Coast approach Like their older cohorts, the next generation of philanthropic financiers has strong ties to Manhattan and Wall Street, often comprising investment managers at alternative investment vehicles, such as hedge funds and private equity firms. And, like the Baby Boomer financiers that popularised venture philanthropy, Generation X and Generation Y financiers are introducing innovative and groundbreaking models of their own, such as “giving cooperatives”, in which like-minded philanthropists pool their money, know-how and contacts to maximise the results of their involvement. Examples of these cooperatives include Hedge Funds Care, founded in 1998 to target poverty and child abuse, the Tiger Foundation, founded in 1989 as a cooperative of investment managers at Tiger Management, and 100 Women in Hedge Funds, an organisation of 10,000 male and female members dedicated to networking and giving back. According to “Contributing to Communities”, a 2013 report by the Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA), these three organisations—together with the Robin Hood Foundation—contributed more than $170m to philanthropic causes in 2010. Although these funds make a sizeable impact, these young philanthropists often donate their time and talents as well. The advent of the information age has certainly made it easier for financiers to leverage their professional networks and help guide charities’ investment strategies. According to Dr Una Osili, director of research at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, giving circles and other giving networks have allowed young philanthropists “to build community for a particular cause, not just to give financially Philanthropic financiers Sponsored by
  8. 8. but also for volunteering and advocacy”. At the same time, innovations in social networking have transformed the ability to measure results, monitor accountability and help donors decide where their time, skills and money are most needed. “Technology has dramatically reduced the cost of information and getting connected to new causes,” says Dr Osili. The ROI of giving Data, numbers, research and analysis are prized by this group of young charitable givers. These philanthropists are accustomed to measuring performance results with hard facts and figures—this carries over to their charitable contributions. “What I’ve noticed with young financiers,” says Sharna Goldseker, executive director of 21/64, a non-profit philanthropic consultancy, “is that they may take a long time collecting the data, but then, once they have it, they are quick to make a decision.” Not surprisingly, young philanthropists from the world of finance expect to see tangible results from their charitable giving and often request regular updates and briefings. Most important, they approach giving just as they do their financial work, by asking what type of return they’ll receive on their investment. According to AIMA’s research, maximising outcomes based on dollars spent is a paramount consideration for philanthropic hedge-funders. The full human equation In addition to shoring up financial capital, young philanthropists from the financial sector often focus their charity on strengthening human capital in the long term— especially through improving education. Ken Griffin, 45, September 2014 founder of Citadel, a Chicago-based hedge fund, has been an especially generous donor to educational causes based on his belief that the future of the United States depends on public education. He has helped open new charter schools and early childhood learning centres, as well as children’s hospitals. He also donated the single biggest alumni gift ($150m) to Harvard for undergraduate need-based financial aid. While improving education close to home is an under-standably popular way to expand the long-term potential of the disadvantaged, young financiers are by no means parochial in their philanthropy. The AIMA report found, for instance, that “many philanthropic initiatives from the hedge fund industry concentrate their funding on the developing world, particularly Africa”. In addition, the report highlights hedge fund managers’ efforts to contribute to the development of the healthcare sector by supporting improved global medical training and treatment initiatives. Some of the latest initiatives coming from this young group of philanthropists include A Leg to Stand On, founded by C. Mead Welles, 46, founder of Octagon Assset Management, and the High Water Women Foundation, founded by women in the hedge fund industry. The former provides prostheses, physical therapy and corrective surgery for people with physical disabilities in Africa and Asia; the latter offers mentoring, financial education and computer skills development to women and young people in need. Both cases epitomise the great diversity of young financiers’ charitable efforts as well as the forward-looking nature of their generosity. For young financiers, improving quality of life isn’t just an end in itself but an important means of ensuring sustained progress in the future. Sponsored by
  9. 9. September 2014 John and Laura Arnold Ages: 39 & 40 Giving level (2013): $296.2m Focus: Education, health and criminal justice Goal: Public policy reform John Arnold is used to taking the lead. He quickly became one of the most admired energy traders in the world after founding the hedge fund Centaurus in 2002. Five years later, he became the youngest billionaire on the Forbes 400 Richest Americans list. And, since retiring at the age of 38 in 2012, Mr Arnold, together with his wife, Laura, a former corporate lawyer and businesswoman, has worked on making just as significant an impact in philanthropy as he did in the financial world. The Arnolds say it had always been their plan to make this transition to philanthropy. “We were both raised in middle-class households and attended public secondary schools,” they explain. “Our parents did not have the financial resources to give charitably on a large scale, but they instilled in us an appreciation for the opportunities we had and an understanding of the importance of making a difference whenever and however possible.” As part of their philanthropic work, the Arnolds focus on building human capital and promoting policy reform in three main areas: criminal justice, education and public accountability. The couple believes that their work differs from conventional philanthropy in that it targets the nation’s biggest problems and tries to promote sustainable reforms by seeking wholesale policy changes to improve the quality of outcomes. The Arnolds explain their approach as “identifying endemic societal problems, collaborating with experts in the field to evaluate potential solutions, rigorously testing hypotheses to arrive at the best answer and, finally, seeking to implement those alternatives at scale through policy reforms”. While the Arnolds take a long-term, directed and disciplined approach to philanthropy, they are also responsive in times of crisis. During the federal government shutdown in 2013, the Arnolds helped maintain the Head Start programme that provides meals, medical screenings and preschool for nearly a million children from low-income families through their charitable donations. And, although their private foundation, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, may be the couple’s largest outlet for their charitable activity, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that the Arnolds have also given generously to their donor-advised fund for donating to causes such as Baylor College of Medicine. Whether thinking big over the long term or reacting quickly to immediate challenges, the Arnolds have proved their capacity and eagerness to be among the most influential philanthropists of their time. Sponsored by
  10. 10. September 2014 Portraits of young philanthropists: Young heirs and heiresses are a unique subset of society, and this distinction holds true for their roles as philanthropists as well. These young heirs are steeped in their family’s tradition of giving from an early age, and yet they form part of a new generation with fresh ideas about charitable giving. According to the 2012 Bank of America study of high-net-worth philanthropy conducted by Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, 41% of high-net-worth households have family traditions around giving, with 33% involving younger relatives in charitable practices. “Inheritors have a dual challenge,” notes Dr Michael Moody, Frey Foundation chair at the Johnson Center for Philanthropy in Grand Rapids, Michigan. ”They face the difficult task of navigating how to respect the family legacy of giving, while also experimenting with new approaches to make philanthropy better.” The idea of the frivolous, pleasure-seeking socialite made popular by magazines and gossip journalists bears little resemblance to most philanthropic heirs. “The image of the privileged rich kid is inaccurate when describing these young philanthropists,” claims Sharna Goldseker, executive director of 21/64, a non-profit philanthropic consultancy that works closely with young heirs to develop their own philanthropic identity. “They are responsible, earnest and want to make a meaningful difference.” Mixing business, pleasure and giving More than any other group of young philanthropists, heirs balance multiple duties and roles at once: work, giving, community involvement, family and friends. Emma Bloomberg, elder daughter of the former New York City mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg, is a senior planner at the Robin Hood Foundation, a respected charity that battles poverty in New York. She is also on the boards of Stand for Children, a national grass-roots advocacy organisation focused on education reform, and Young Lions of the New York Public Library, a group of library benefactors in their 20s and 30s. Like Ms Bloomberg, young heirs often take active roles in philanthropy alongside comparably active parents. According to “Next gen donors”, a 2013 report by the Johnson Center and 21/64, 70% of Gen X and Gen Y donors with a family foundation already sit on the board of that foundation. According to Dr Una Osili, director of research at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, many family foundations are seeking to learn about the different giving styles and approaches of the emerging generations. “Foundations that have the flexibility to balance the mission of the foundation with the different preferences of family members, whether it’s geographic dispersion or generational divide, are able to create a more meaningful experience for family members at different points in their life cycle,” she says. Engaged heirs Sponsored by
  11. 11. Like their Gen X and Gen Y counterparts in business, young heirs are more actively engaged in charity and concerned about its real impact. Dr Osili cites data from the 2012 Bank of America study that shows a rise of high-net-worth philanthropists who volunteer more than 200 hours a year. Indeed, many young heirs make a career of philanthropy, blending it with the other facets of their lives. Yet even heirs who don’t embrace philanthropy as a career may wear their philanthropic work as a badge of honour. For example, Dylan Lauren, daughter of clothes designer Ralph Lauren and founder of the successful sweets chain Dylan’s Candy Store, actively supports animal rights charities, such as the ASPCA, and has hosted benefits for that organisation at her flagship Manhattan boutique. Continuing a family tradition Heirs to family fortunes—especially fortunes passed down through many generations—tend to be keenly aware of the legacy that they are entrusted to preserve. “Entrepreneurs are thinking about their own legacy for the first time, while third—or fourth—generation family members are thinking about their family’s legacy,” says Carra Cote-Ackah, a director of partnerships and strategic initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for High Impact Philanthropy. As a result, they must grapple with how to continue building on their family’s tradition of giving, while putting their own stamp on a new era. The need to remain true to the original vision of the founding family member may represent a constraint for Gen X and Gen Y heirs, yet they still seek novel approaches to giving that focus less on personal recognition and more on empowering change. “Many inheritors continue to support legacy gifts, but they do so in a new way,” says Dr Moody, adding that heirs are willing to look beyond the status that comes with a seat on the board if they can make more of a difference by getting their hands dirty. Making their mark September 2014 As for making an impact, heirs are putting their own mark on philanthropy. Many are broadening the scope of their traditional focus, expanding their sights globally and promoting social change through nontraditional vehicles. The Wilson Family Foundation, a charitable organisation created by the founders of Xerox, embodies this new approach. Based in Rochester, New York, the foundation traditionally focused on Rochester and the local community, but the younger generations managing the family foundation today grew up all over the US. While Rochester remains home base, they have sought new ways to address issues they were seeing first-hand in communities around the country. They began backing national causes in addition to the foundation’s traditional local charities. The foundation now works to eliminate homelessness on a national level through assistance programmes. The Nathan Cummings Foundation, a $400m endowment that aims to change corporate behaviour through shareholder activism, is another example of how traditional family giving is transforming to fit today’s changing needs and culture. Board members have altered the way the foundation invests, leveraging their position as shareholder to promote social change—the foundation reports having introduced more than 180 shareholder resolutions to address topics such as climate change, sustainability reporting and healthcare reform. The Cummings family proves that foundations can do more than give directly to charity; they can use their assets to encourage corporate America to maximise profits, while pursuing issues of social justice, the environment and sustainability. Using all the tools at their disposal—investment capital, social capital and established philanthropic know-how—young heirs are using old money in new, creative ways. Sponsored by
  12. 12. September 2014 Alexis Feldman Age: 32 Hours volunteered in 2013: More than 250 Focus: Cancer research and Jewish causes Goal: To make an impact and give back to her community In Alexis Feldman’s early 20s, donating money here and there to various charities was about the full extent of her philanthropic activity. But now, Ms Feldman, who works for her family’s business, New York-based Feldman Realty Group, is busier than ever as chair of the Cancer Research Institute’s Young Philanthropists Council, which she founded in 2008. She also helps run her two family charitable foundations, the Milton and Sylvia Feldman Foundation and the Seymour Feldman Foundation, both of which focus on health-related issues and Jewish causes. So what precisely happened to spur her engagement in the philanthropic world? In the summer of 2008, Ms Feldman accompanied her father to meet Dr Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, CEO and director of scientific affairs at the Cancer Research Institute. Ms Feldman, who has lost three of her grandparents to cancer, expected to be interested in the discussion—but she never expected to get hooked. “Back in 2008, unless you were in the cancer research world, you probably had never heard the term ‘immunotherapy’,” she recalls, referring to a type of cancer treatment centred on the body’s own natural defences against disease. “I certainly had not, and neither had my father. We were both intrigued and impressed with CRI’s mission and the passion Jill had.” That fall, Ms Feldman was asked to create the Young Philanthropists Council, a junior board for the Cancer Research Institute. “This was my opportunity to take an active role in philanthropy, and I jumped at it,” she explains. Today, she continues to chair the Young Philanthropists Council, a personally rewarding role—and one that takes a lot of time and energy. When Ms Feldman reflects on her family’s involvement in philanthropy, she is struck by how similar she is to her parents and grandparents. “We all agree it is important to give back in any way, big or small,” she says. “And we are all driven to donate to causes in the cancer and the medical world and to Jewish organisations.” Where they differ though, she says, is that while her parents give more money, she is more involved behind the scenes. And that just might make Ms Feldman the quintessential next-gen philanthropist: heavily influenced by previous generations of givers and yet stylistically distinct from them, as well.
  13. 13. September 2014 Whilst every effort has been taken to verify the accuracy of this information, neither The Economist Intelligence Unit Ltd. nor the sponsor of this report can accept any responsibility or liability for reliance by any person on this white paper or any of the information, opinions or conclusions set out in the white paper. London 20 Cabot Square London E14 4QW United Kingdom Tel: (44.20) 7576 8000 Fax: (44.20) 7576 8476 E-mail: New York 750 Third Avenue 5th Floor New York, NY 10017 United States Tel: (1.212) 554 0600 Fax: (1.212) 586 0248 E-mail: Hong Kong 6001, Central Plaza 18 Harbour Road Wanchai Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2585 3888 Fax: (852) 2802 7638 E-mail: Geneva Boulevard des Tranchées 16 1206 Geneva Switzerland Tel: (41) 22 566 2470 Fax: (41) 22 346 93 47 E-mail: Sponsored by