Emerging Leaders

One of the biggest topics in family philanthropy has to do with engaging the next generation. How do multi-generational family foundations find common ground amongst board members with very different worldviews and experiences? How do foundations ensure that the next generation becomes responsible stewards of their philanthropic assets? How does one generation pass along their values about effective grantmaking, while allowing their kids and grandkids to discover their own philanthropic voice?

I entered the field of philanthropy through a theological framework. With idealism guiding my path, I started a journey in search of a meaningful and purposeful vocation. Because of my commitment to social justice, civic engagement, and community development, I enrolled in a dual-degree master’s program that combined urban policy and divinity. The program was designed to create more leaders like UN Ambassador Andrew Young and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who allowed their faith to empower them in the civic arena.

At Proteus Fund we’ve pondered how to address the challenge of increasing the number of professionals of color working in philanthropy, not just to increase the diversity of faces around the table but to expand the life experiences and perspectives that foundation professionals bring to their decisions about funding. The Proteus Diversity Fellowship recruits talented young professionals of color from a variety of fields and life experiences into a rigorous, year-long training program with placements in hosting foundations in Massachusetts.

In my humble opinion, Millennials bring together all of the aspects of a perfect donor. At Building Tomorrow and in general in my watching of the fundraising world, I have seen Millennials do some amazing things by giving their time, talents, and resources to others and to causes they believe in. Below are the three reasons that Millennials are the perfect donor.

Family philanthropy is comprised of more than just family foundations. Robyn Schien writes about the work at The Minneapolis Foundation serving families through the use of Donor Advised Funds and emphasizing the importance of engaging the next generation. Many of these issues will be tackled at the 2012 Family Philanthropy Conference where colleagues in the field can learn from each other.

Matt Robertson, a member of the Next Generation, recounts his trip to Africa when he was 17 and how it inspired him to dedicate his life to philanthropy. Find out what Matt is doing now in the latest Re: Philanthropy blog.

The digital age helped increase awareness of global issues and related philanthropy. It also helped educate the next generation of philanthropists and encouraged them to get involved, but what are some other ways of engaging the next wave of global citizens? Dan Siegel and Jenny Yancey, co-presidents of YouthGive, offer some tips.