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Philanthropy across generations: creating a strategic roadmap

Gioia Perugini


Families who give together know well that as their family grows in number and geographic reach through the generations, perspectives on philanthropic goals can take on new shapes and sizes. The initial charitable effort often evolves to reflect changes in family composition, affiliations with nonprofits, and diversity of giving vehicles. For many families, a primary goal is to create a smooth integration of the next generation into the family’s philanthropic efforts. There are as many different approaches as there are families, and the most effective plans reflect their unique goals while employing the appropriate selection of the various giving tools available.

The topic of wealth transfer to the next generation has been well documented. Accenture estimated that $30 trillion of financial and nonfinancial assets are ready to shift from baby boomers to their children in North America alone.i At the same time, there is a large and growing appetite for using wealth to solve social challenges and help those in need. In 2015, 98.4% of high net worth families gave to charity, and foundations contributed $57.19 billion to nonprofit causes, a 6.5% increase over 2014.ii

To ensure that a family’s charitable legacy lasts well into future generations, families can create a strategic roadmap to facilitate strong, multi-generational giving. There are myriad approaches, but they each share the common threads of promoting good governance practices and engaging family members in their most effective roles.

Depending on each family’s philanthropic goals, strategies for integrating multiple generations into a cohesive family approach to philanthropy may include:

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