Culture / Newsy

With $8.8 Trillion on the Line, Courting and Educating Next Gen Donors Becomes a Crucial Priority for Houston Nonprofits

Some Young Leaders Are Eager to Make a Difference

BY // 05.10.22

Experts predict that a staggering $8.8 trillion in private wealth will be passed down to upcoming generations in the not so distant future. If even a mere 5 percent of that, they suggest, is dedicated to philanthropy that means that more than $440 billion can be directed to provide critical investment in our communities.

Training the next generation of donors to be wise stewards of that wealth was the focus when the Greater Houston Community Foundation invited community leaders in for a luncheon program releasing a study on the importance of that training.

“It’s hard to over-estimate just how vital these rising Next Gen donors will be to the future of philanthropy and just how crucial it is that we do a better job across the country in helping them learn, engage and thrive,” notes Michael Moody of the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy and the co-author of the study. “Every cause and every community will benefit if these donors become the sort of informed and intentional philanthropic partners we all need them to be.

“That is our purpose with this report.”

The Grand Rapids, Michigan-based center and 21/64, a New York-based nonprofit focused on maximizing multi-generational impact, partnered with the Greater Houston Community Foundation in conducting the study titled: “Next Gen Donor Learning: Lessons for Effective Programs from Houston and the Field.”

Next Gen Donors Step Forward

The study was based on the Houston foundation’s Center for Family Philanthropy and the Next Gen Donor Institute. Foundation board chair Chris Weekley, president of David Weekley Homes, is one of the Next Gen Donor Institute graduates.

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“I have always known how fortunate I am to have the opportunity and responsibility to share my resources toward a better society, but I needed guidance on how to be thoughtful and effective,” Chris Weekley tells the gathering.

Of his experience in the program Weekley says, “It taught me foundational things, like what to look for in evaluating nonprofit financials, what some of the pressing issues are that I might not have known about and exposure to new nonprofits doing great work.

“Being involved with the Foundation, is also a way to help make this work a priority in my life by showing up to programs, trainings, site visits, committee meetings and family philanthropy day.”

Dr. Michael Moody, Lacey Fluor Goossen, Mandy Kao, Ben Brown, Kelly Hackett; Image Courtesy of Greater Houston Community Foundation (3)
The panel discussion with Michale Moody, Lacey Fluor Goossen, Mandy Kao, Ben Brown, Kelly Hackett (Photo courtesy of the Greater Houston Community Foundation)

Four institute alumni — Kelly Hackett, Lacey Fluor Goossen, Mandy Kao and Ben Brown — were interviewed by Moody in a panel discussion detailing the benefits of the program.

“An important part of our economy and our social fabric, philanthropy is a business, and we cannot afford to be complacent about the way it is practiced,” says Hackett, the managing director of Family Office Services for Tectonic Advisors and a Greater Houston Community Foundation council member. “Case studies and impact evaluations like the one Greater Houston Community Foundation has done with the Johnson Center and 21/64 are critical for the field and for our community.

“As part of the next generation of donors myself, I can attest to the need for ongoing training as well as access to reliable information and advice.”

Since its founding in 1995, the Greater Houston Community Foundation has distributed more than $2 billion in grants.

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