May 31, 2022

Donors Under 40: A closer look

The millennial and Gen Z generations now make up over half of the U.S. population. They will be the beneficiaries of one of the most significant wealth transfers in American history. In their lifetimes, these generations have lived through the 911 tragedy, the 2008 financial crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic, and feel empowered, perhaps more so than previous generations, to help improve society by giving charitably.

During the COVID-19 crisis, millennial and Gen Z generations donated more than any other generation towards charitable causes. Before the pandemic, millennials were the most likely (60%) of any generation to donate to hurricane relief charities after Harvey, Irma, and Maria, demonstrating the economic power and expansive generosity of this younger age group.

In many ways, millennials and Gen-Z generations view their philanthropic activities as a central part of their identity. They already enthusiastically support nonprofits, and their ability to help them will only grow in the future. “Charitable activities last year and into this year reflect unwavering commitments by philanthropists to give in good times and bad and address societal issues and challenges faced in their local communities. We’re also seeing the next generation of change-makers transforming how giving gets done and philanthropy’s role in society.” Katy Knox, president of Bank of America Private Bank. Per Bank of America, younger donors are more likely than older donors to donate to giving vehicles like charitable trusts, private foundations, or donor-advised funds, and participation in impact or sustainable investing has doubled.

Investment firms and online platforms are enabling people to put their money into portfolios they feel matter to them — focusing on things like clean energy, alleviating poverty, and environmental issues, to name just a few areas.

All this brings to light the existing and potentially decisive role community foundations, like The Foundation for Delaware County, can play for both donors and the financial advisors that oversee their wealth, helping them to identify worthy nonprofits doing good work in our communities, helping them see the impact of their charitable dollars, and offering sustainable investment opportunities.

As always, The Foundation for Delaware County is here to help you and your clients navigate the various options for charitable giving. Our goal is to support you in what you do and bring philanthropy into the conversation for all who live in or care about Delaware County. We would be happy to schedule a meeting either virtually or in person. It is our honor and pleasure to work with you and your clients. We look forward to talking with you soon!

Frances M. Sheehan, President