NextGen philanthropists and the transfer of intergenerational wealth


posted by
Patsy Kraeger, Ph.D.

Welcome to Research Friday! As part of a continuing series,we invite a nonprofit scholar, student, or professional to highlight current research reports or studies and discuss how they can inform and improve day-to-day nonprofit practice.

In the coming decades, over 40 trillion dollars will change hands. While a large portion of this wealth will be designated for charitable giving, the people who will inherit this wealth—and direct the charitable giving—are relatively small in number. They are called "next gen major donors," and according to a recent report issued by the Johnson Center at Grand Valley State University and 21/64, they will "have tremendous influence on the direction of and support for efforts to improve local communities and solve global problems over the next several decades."

"Next gen major donors" are defined as people aged 21 to 40 who are persons of wealth and are involved with their families' philanthropic activities. The report, titled Respecting Legacy, Revolutionizing Philanthropy, delves into all kinds of interesting questions about these donors. It suggests that they "will face immense, complex social problems in their lifetimes, requiring them to be both generous and smart in their giving."1 The report was based on 310 survey responses and 30 in-depth interviews with people identified as next gen donors. Four key findings about next gen major donors: