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Generation Impact by Michael Moody, Sharna Goldseker

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CHAPTER 11Next Gen Philanthropic Identity

For next gen donors who have earned their own wealth, discovering that they have financial resources that they didn't have growing up—enough to be philanthropic at a young age—can be a new and disorienting reality. These “immigrants” to wealth, as James Grubman calls them in his book Strangers in Paradise, have to acculturate to their new land, learn a new language, and figure out the role they want to play there.1 Just as immigrants to a new country struggle to assimilate, so do self‐made earners—who didn't grow up with wealth—work to claim this new aspect of who they are and how they want to be. If these earners are giving‐minded, this struggle includes figuring out what kind of donors they wish to become. It means forming a philanthropic identity.

For those who are inheriting wealth and a philanthropic legacy, the drivers are different, but the basic motivation is the same. Inheritors feel the weight of their predecessors' successes, the privileges afforded them by virtue of winning what Warren Buffett calls the “ovarian lottery,” and the endless possibilities of what they could fund. With the world constantly monitoring for signs of their failure or success, these next gen inheritors wrestle with forming philanthropic identities based on their own purposes rather than becoming paralyzed by the successes of their predecessors, their prosperity, or the possibilities available to them.2 Like earners, they too face the challenge of ...

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