Jewish Next-Gen Donors Seek More Formal Involvement in Family Philanthropy

While younger Jewish donors continue to fund Jewish causes, they also are eager to be more formally engaged in family philanthropy as they seek new ways to make an impact, a report from 21/64 and the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University finds.

The report, Next Gen Donors: The Future of Jewish Giving (22 pages, PDF), found that among Jewish donors in their twenties and thirties, religious and faith-based organizations were the most common recipients of family giving and the second most common recipients of personal giving, after education. The study also found that while Jewish next-gen donors, like most of their peers, are looking for innovative ways to maximize the impact of their giving, they also are driven by values learned from their parents and grandparents — and seek a balance between honoring their family legacy and pursuing new strategies.

At the same time, younger Jewish donors reported being less involved in their family's philanthropy than they would like to be, with 38.6 percent saying they are currently "not involved" or "minimally involved." According to the report, smaller percentages of Jewish next-gen donors serve on a foundation committee (14 percent) or board (23 percent) compared with their non-Jewish counterparts. This lack of formal involvement is particularly frustrating to these young philanthropists, who are actively engaged in other charitable activities such as serving on nonprofit boards (47.6 percent) and giving online (86.9 percent), the report suggests, "because they have definite ideas about how they want to act on their values and engage in philanthropy," with an emphasis on hands-on involvement and peer-oriented giving.

Funded by the Joyce and Irving Goldman Family, Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher, and Morningstar foundations, in collaboration with the Jewish Funders Network, the study draws on research reported in Next Gen Donors: Respecting Legacy, Revolutionizing Philanthropy (80 pages, PDF) earlier this year, including an in-depth examination of Jewish next-gen donors' approach to giving, new insights in their own words, and implications for the Jewish organizations seeking their support.

"Despite concerns from the community that the next generation of Jewish funders are less involved in Jewish giving, the results from our study provide an optimistic view," said 21/64 managing director Sharna Goldseker. "As the surveys reveal, not only are Jewish next-gen donors committed to supporting Jewish organizations, they want to be even further involved in substantive and meaningful ways."

"First-of-Its Kind Study Reveals New Picture of Jewish Next Gen Major Donors" 21/64 Press Release 08/08/2013.