The role of young people in philanthropy, grantmaking, and socially-minded entrepreneurship is critical. They are the next generation sitting around the tables of family foundations; the designers of new business models that have social contribution engineered into the enterprise’s DNA; and young people coming into our workforce as philanthrocrats. They are here and they are already contributing much and facing the unprecedented challenges of the future.
Read on for an update on the work of PNZ’s Youth Advisory Group, who are helping transform our approach to young philanthropy.
Philanthropy has often taken a long view—the money we give away has often been carefully managed over many years with the desire to make contributions in perpetuity, and many of the issues we seek to make a difference on are inter-generational and will only change over many years. Those factors alone should steer us towards lifting our engagement with young people. When coupled with our challenges on diversity (I certainly don’t meet many young people in our sector) and the transfer of baby boomer wealth to the next generation, philanthropy and grantmaking have every reason to support youth participation, promote youth voices and engage with young citizens no matter what kaupapa we are looking to make a difference to.
Internationally philanthropy has focussed on:
- Inspiring young people to think about generosity (see Youth Bank, Youth Giving, Youth Philanthropy Initiative for some great examples),
- Providing support for young people in our sector and related arenas like social enterprise (e.g. Nexus, Philanthropy Australia),
- Seeking to understand what the next generation of donors will be most interested in (Generation Impact). As always Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors summarise the issues with clarity.
That’s why I’ve been really pleased to be working with a group of young people from our sector and the wider generosity ecosystem. We’re running some projects together that will help the philanthropic and grantmaking sector and PNZ become closer and more relevant to the next generation.
We’re working on making sure that next year’s Philanthropy Summit has plenty of space for young people and that their voices and points of view are heard. We’re going to host networks for young people in the sector, starting with a pilot in the Waikato and we are exploring how we could mentor and provide work experience for new trustees and staff who are under 30.
I’ll leave the last word on this issue to David Carrington who spoke at our Network Symposium earlier this year.
“Some millennials are looking for an alternative term for philanthropy because they associate it with some of the issues I talked about before. They don’t feel comfortable with this term.
The discussions I have when working with wealth managers indicate that many of the younger generation also want to talk about different ways of doing things. They are very interested in impact, they are very clear about wanting to support social change, and they want human rights and similar issues to inform their philanthropy, which may not have been true of their parents or grandparents.
They are also often much more interested in how they can use philanthropy to impact the economic system, and so issues of social impact investing, where you use money to achieve social good, is something they are enthusiastic about exploring. Some of the most interesting social focus organisations and some of the most interesting social entrepreneurs are actually pretty rich people who have decided to focus on achieving social benefit. I think it’s a fascinating area.”
- Tony Paine, CEO, PNZ