Starfish Impact recently had the opportunity to talk with Pegine Grayson, Senior Vice President of Whittier Trust. We’re excited to share a snippet into some of the exciting things we talked about including trends in philanthropy and the next generation of philanthropists:
Describe your role in philanthropy.
As a Senior Vice President in Whittier Trust’s Philanthropic Services department, I advise our high net worth clients on philanthropy-related issues and provide comprehensive administrative management services for their foundations and donor-advised funds. Essentially, I serve as an out-sourced Executive Director for these philanthropic entities, and our staff provides the grants management, program officer, compliance and administrative functions so that clients can simply experience the joy of giving without having to shoulder the administrative burdens.
What kinds of trends are you seeing in your field?
The biggest trend is undoubtedly the desire of more and more philanthropic clients to meaningfully engage their children in their philanthropy. In the last two years alone, we have facilitated more family retreats around this issue and established more junior boards (or some variation on that theme) for our foundation clients than in the previous ten years combined.
Another one is the growing interest in impact investing. Overall investment remains relatively small, but more of our foundation boards are asking us to surface opportunities for them.
Finally, despite the myth out there that private foundations are a dying breed, soon to be supplanted by donor-advised funds, we’re just not seeing that. And, according to a recent study by the National Center for Family Philanthropy, over 50% of family foundations surveyed expect to receive an influx of assets in the nest four years.
With the upcoming generational wealth transfer, what types of questions should individuals be asking themselves?
As the new generation of self-made families/entrepreneurs comes into significant wealth, they are no longer asking the question: “how can I transfer everything to my kids and pay as little taxes as possible?” Rather, this generation of Boomers and Gen-Xers are asking questions like:
- “What’s the REAL definition of wealth (i.e., recognizing that it goes well beyond their balance sheet);”
- “How much SHOULD I transfer to my kids to enable them to do something productive with their lives and add value, while avoiding the curse of giving them so much that they do nothing?”
- “How can the wealth we have as a family be used as an instrument of promoting our values and ensuring we live in alignment with them?”
- “How might we use our philanthropy as a teaching tool for our kids re values, financial management, collaboration, etc. and as a means of keeping the family united across generations and geographic distance?”
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