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Studying the Future, Spreading the Word

Studying the Future, Spreading the Word
Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Millennials (ages 22-35) and Gen X-ers (ages 35-47) make up about 30 percent of the population in Essex County. That’s why Jay Caporale, executive vice president, and Carol Lavoie Schuster, assistant manager of grants and services, led a research team recently to explore this rising demographic. And last Friday, Sept. 19, at the Andover Rotary Club weekly breakfast, Jay shared some surprising results from ECCF’s first 2014 Next Gen Study.

The 2014 Next Gen Study—a donor-funded research project, by the way—began by looking at specific qualities of Millennials and Gen X-ers nationally. For instance, they will likely inherit between $30-40 trillion through bequests, often exhibit entrepreneurial and innovative solutions in philanthropy, and want to engage in social issues at a deeper level than just giving money. They tend to recruit family and friends to their causes and want to teach their kids to be givers as well as more informed local and global citizens.

“With attributes like these, the Community Foundation sees this group as sharing many of the values that drive our mission: collaboration, education, deep engagement,” Jay told the 50 Rotarians who gathered at the Lanam Club. “We want to educate and connect donors while investing in future nonprofit leaders and board members. This study is a win-win.”

The team then gathered comparative data, researched 20 different programs, and conducted two focus groups of local nonprofit leaders and another of philanthropists. What Jay, Carol and their colleagues found was thoughtful engagement matched by a desire to serve and lead. They also found where these groups live in Essex County: higher populations of Millennials tend to live in lower income communities and higher populations of Gen X-ers in higher income communities. And many towns and cities with the highest median incomes have higher household income for ages 25-44 than the total population. (See chart.)

What does this mean for ECCF? A Next Gen Track is planned for the 2015 Institute for Trustees in March as well as specific dinners, events and a Youth Philanthropy Initiative. It’s all very exciting, Jay said, which is why he’s taking the 2014 Next Gen Study information to another Rotary Club in Manchester in November as well as other groups.

“I want to get the word out to as many groups as possible: we have to invest in the Next Generation of leaders to shape our communities so that everyone benefits!”

If you're interested in having Jay speak to your group, email him at Jay@eccf.org.

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