Next Gen Donors: Shaping the Future of Philanthropy

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Johnson Center

GrantCraft is pleased to partner with 21/64 and the Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University in an analysis of their new research on next generation donors.

A relatively small group of Generation Xers and Millennials will inherit over $40 trillion in wealth, much of that designated for philanthropy. In this first-of-its-kind research, the Johnson Center and 21/64 examined a key segment of the next generation of major donors in the United States. Through a national online survey and in-depth interviews, they explored themes including philanthropic orientation, priorities, strategies, decision-making, and activities. Their report, Next Gen Donors: Respecting Legacy, Revolutionizing Philanthropy, is available at

21/64 and the Johnson Center invited GrantCraft to do a parallel analysis of its interviews to draw out the “practical wisdom” of 30 next generation major donors. Next Gen Donors: Shaping the Future of Philanthropy, a GrantCraft companion guide, captures what study participants found to be distinctive about themselves and their peers. It aims to increase understanding and stimulate discussion about Gen X and Millennial major donors — the generations that have the potential to be the most significant philanthropists in history.

  • Hunger for engagement: grantees, families, peers, other funders
  • New ways of learning: ideas, approaches, and people
  • Importance of now: deep interest in applying their skills sooner rather than later

“There are a million different ways to be philanthropic in 2012 that there weren't in 1985!”

“The idea that I'm going to have one trusted advisor or a limited set of trusted advisors, I totally don't feel at all. I mean, I want everyone to help me and some things are going to make more sense than others.”

“I want [my family] to be more comfortable talking through our personal and collective giving, and figuring out together how we want to go forward.”

Shaping the Future of Philanthropy: Voices from Next Gen Donors

In this month-long podcast series, we explore the values, motivations, and stories of the up-and-coming generation of philanthropists. Listen here.