A “new philanthropy” program that is engaging young people in charitable giving
In today’s societies, young people are reacting to an increasingly polarized world. While cities are growing, so too is inequity. Looking at the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) for example, it is projected that there will be a 41 percent population increase by 2041. Meanwhile, the number of residents living on low incomes has grown to 20 percent of the population, which is more than 25 percent higher than the rest of Canada.
Given these unprecedented challenges, young people are driven by building meaningful relationships and effecting social change from the ground up. They approach charitable giving in an entirely different way from their predecessors.
Welcome to the ‘new philanthropy’
Toronto Foundation is on the cutting edge of this ‘new philanthropy.’ In January 2018, they embarked on a two-year journey with a group of Millennials and Gen Xers to learn about the city’s most pressing issues, understand responsible grant-making, and connect with community leaders making a difference. At the end of the program, called Vision 2020, these new philanthropists will have their own permanent endowments and a baseline of knowledge to help them become social change agents over the course of their lives.
At the end of the program, called Vision 2020, these new philanthropists will have their own permanent endowments and a baseline of knowledge to help them become social change agents over the course of their lives.
How the Vision 2020 program works
With this group of new philanthropists, who have committed $10,000 as individuals or couples to a permanent endowment, they will meet with 10 service agencies and residents, who have historically been shut out of the decisions making process, to figure out how to best invest their donations. At the end of the two-year program, having spent significant time learning about the city’s most pressing issues, the philanthropists will have earned an MBA in philanthropy.
The ‘new philanthropy’ is wildly successful
The results speak for themselves. The Foundation surpassed their original goal of 50 new funds after just a few months of promotion. Now, 115 people between the ages of 23 and 50 are taking part, including lawyers, teachers, filmmakers, finance specialists, tech entrepreneurs, civil servants, non-profit professionals and more. Toronto Foundation staff have also signed up, including director of philanthropy Aneil Gokhale. Even the media has been taking note. And the waiting list for the next cohort grows longer by the day.
“Through Vision 2020, I’m learning about the city’s biggest challenges and opportunities. I’m learning to give in a purposeful way, which will lead to a more resilient Toronto.” – Serena Hak, Chair of the Canadian Association of Gift Planners’ GTA Chapter.
But the most meaningful measure of success comes from participants’ feedback. “Young people want to understand the root causes of inequity,” says Serena Hak, Chair of the Canadian Association of Gift Planners’ GTA Chapter. “Through Vision 2020, I’m learning about the city’s biggest challenges and opportunities. I’m learning to give in a purposeful way, which will lead to a more resilient Toronto.”
About Toronto Foundation
Established in 1981, Toronto Foundation is one of 191 Community Foundations in Canada. We pool philanthropic dollars and facilitate charitable donations for maximum community impact. Our individual, family and organizational Funds number more than 500 and we administer more than $400 million in assets. Through strategic granting, thought leadership and convening, we engage in city building, and mobilize people and resources to increase the quality of life in Toronto.
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