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Robert Trigaux

Next-gen philanthropy emerges, even in Tampa



Wake up and good morning. Despite the shock delivered to fortunes by the declining stock market and economy, philanthropy is showing signs of resilience.... in the next generation. So suggests today's cover story in Barron's magazine. As the story begins:

"Behind the headlines, however, a surprisingly encouraging trend is taking hold: A new generation of donors is moving into place -- an energetic and highly creative crowd that eventually could reshape philanthropy. These younger givers -- entrepreneurs, executives and latter-day members of old-money clans -- are intent on leaving a mark now, not in their 50s and 60s."

And one of those creative youngsters profiled in the story is Christopher Brink, the first executive director of the $5-million Brink Foundation. Brink's job is to identify promising nonprofits working to alleviate poverty and other social ills in the family's hometown of Tampa. As Barron's reports:

"Three years ago, when Brink was 26, his father began the process of selling his stock in the company he'd owned, beverage company Mona Vie. That's when the younger Brink began looking for ways to funnel some of the profits back to Brazil, the source of fruits like acai berry that were used in Mona Vie drinks. He set up a partnership with a pastor in the Rio de Janeiro slums, which ultimately provided tutoring services to more than 1,000 children. With the company's sale complete, Brink will move on to manage the philanthropic activities of his now-wealthy family."

Read the story to learn more of Brink's goals for a Tampa YMCA after-school program. A survey conducted by Northern Trust, the private-banking concern, revealed that Generation-X millionaires (aged 28 to 42) gave an average of $20,000 to worthy causes in 2006, double the size of giving by their parents and grandparents. Another recent story from the Boston Globe examined how young, affluent Jews are at the vanguard of a profound shift in Jewish philanthropy toward less traditional and a broader range of giving.

The new 2008 Bank of America Study of High Net-Worth Philanthropy, conducted by The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, notes the rising role of younger adults in the giving process. According to the survey, “setting an example for children or other young people” is an important motivator for donors (45.6 percent), with more and more parents actually involving their young and adult-age children in decisions about grant-making (40.8 percent) and the charitable organizations they choose to support (53.2 percent).

That's all encouraging. Hopefully, the economic downturn will not sour this Gen-X trend.

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 11:23am]


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