Igniting the Spark: Engaging Next-gen and Youth in Family Philanthropy

About this collection: This Content Collection features stories of families who have found successful ways to engage the next generation and youth in family philanthropy, as well as sample policies on next-gen and junior boards, and tips for activities appropriate for sharing the value of family philanthropy with next-gen family members.

tarsAre you interested in learning alongside peers responsible for engaging next gen and youth in family philanthropy? Consider signing up for NCFP’s Engaging Youth Peer Network.
Please see the NCFP Content Collection, Generations Together: Engaging Youth for additional information and resources.

NCFP Passages Issue Briefs

Igniting the Spark: Creating Effective Next Gen Boards

Passages Issue Briefs
This Passages Issue Brief introduces an increasingly popular method for preparing the next generation for philanthropic service: the next generation or junior board. The paper covers the variety of purposes for establishing next generation boards and how they are typically structured, explores how foundations use next generation boards as a tool for…

Opportunity of a Lifetime: Young Adults in Family Philanthropy

Passages Issue Briefs
This Passages Issue Brief addresses one of the most important opportunities in family philanthropy – encouraging young adults to take part in the family’s giving process and to become philanthropic in their own right. What are the reasons that families involve young adults? And what can young adults themselves do…

Opportunity of a Lifetime 2.0: Multigenerational Family Philanthropy

Passages Issue Briefs
More than ever before, giving families are working to involve multiple generations in their philanthropy. According to the National Center for Family Philanthropy’s Trends in Family Philanthropy Study, nearly 3 in 5 U.S. family foundations engage younger family members in the foundation — and more than 40 percent say they…

NCFP Webinars on Engaging Next Gen

young child and grandmother knitting - engaging the next generation
November 10, 2021

Engaging the Next Generation

The promise of family philanthropy is fulfilled by its members—often across multiple generations, which can pose a challenge. Multigenerational families use a variety of techniques to engage the next generation in philanthropy. Successful participation depends on a number of considerations, including how to promote learning, empower next generation family members,…
hand giving set of keys to another hand - succession, passing the baton, transition
December 9, 2021

Succession Planning and Family Transitions

Change is inevitable and can be especially complex in family philanthropy. There are a number of questions to explore to ensure the success of a collective giving effort. What are the anticipated moments of transition? What are the plans to navigate accordingly? Who is best suited—and prepared—to lead the family…
September 12, 2013

Igniting the Spark: Effective Next Generation Boards

For many families, it is important that the next generation not only gives but gives as part of the family. This Family Philanthropy Webinar introduces an increasingly popular method for preparing the next generation for philanthropic service: the next generation or junior board. The webinar will introduce the variety of…
February 14, 2013

Cultivating and Learning from Next Gen Leaders

Members of the next generation (including Gen X and the “Millennials”) are the future - and increasingly current - leaders of philanthropy, yet we still know little about how their philanthropy differs from that of previous generations. Our colleagues at 21/64 and the Johnson Center for Philanthropy have recently completed…

Igniting the Spark: Case Studies of Next Gen Engagement Strategies

Igniting the Spark: The Lawrence Welk Family Foundation

Impact Story
The Lawrence Welk Family Foundation is located in Santa Monica, California,  with family geographically dispersed around the country.  The foundation awards grants to nonprofit organizations serving children and families living in poverty in three Southern California neighborhoods. In addition, a small portion of its funding goes to nonprofits promoting youth…

Igniting the Spark: Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation

Impact Story
The Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation is located in Studio City, California, with family geographically dispersed around the country.  The foundation’s mission is to maximize the potential of children and youth in Los Angeles and Santa Clara County. This next gen case study describes their history of youth engagement, and…

Igniting the Spark: Tracy Family Foundation

Impact Story
The Tracy Family Foundation is located in Mt. Sterling, Illinois, with family geographically dispersed around the country.  The foundation’s mission is to provide resources to organizations that foster the values of Robert and Dorothy Tracy—a Catholic/Christian belief, honesty, integrity, fairness, and a strong work ethic. The foundation seeks to proactively…

Igniting the Spark: The Tarsadia Foundation

Impact Story
The Tarsadia Foundation is located in Newport Beach, California.  The foundation supports non-profit organizations with programs and projects that provide educational opportunities for the underserved, support health and well-being of the community, and assist to employ the employable through economic empowerment. This next gen case study describes their history of…

Igniting the Spark: Lumpkin Family Foundation

Impact Story
The Lumpkin Family Foundation is located in Mattoon, Illinois, with family geographically dispersed.  The foundation supports people pursuing innovation and long-lasting improvements in the environment, health, education, and community access to the arts in its home of Clara County. This next gen case study describes their history of youth engagement,…

Igniting the Spark: Dekko Family Foundation

Impact Story
The Dekko Family Foundation is located in Kendallville, Indiana. The idea for Youth Pods started in the 1990s, when a staff member went to a family philanthropy conference and learned about youth philanthropy initiatives. With no Dekko family members at the right age, the Dekko Foundation looked to the Michigan…

Igniting the Spark: Andrus Family Fund

Impact Story
The Andrus Family Fund is an innovative, inclusive, and flexible program that offers opportunities for family members of all ages and interests to get involved in the family’s philanthropies and in public service.

NCFP Webinars on Next Gen Donor Networks

March 17, 2016

Changemakers: National networks engaging next gen philanthropic leaders

Family foundation boards are expected to see a period of unprecedented change over the next few years, with a new generation of philanthropists poised to take over leadership roles. NCFP's 2015 Trends Study found that 56% of family foundations currently engage younger family members in the foundation's work, and more…
January 9, 2014

Generation next – Young donors inspiring a new generation of philanthropists

The dream of many family foundation donors is to instill a lifelong love of philanthropy and giving back to future generations of one’s family. In some cases, this love of philanthropy translates into a desire on the part of younger family members to instill in others the joy that giving…
February 14, 2013

Cultivating and Learning from Next Gen Leaders

Members of the next generation (including Gen X and the “Millennials”) are the future - and increasingly current - leaders of philanthropy, yet we still know little about how their philanthropy differs from that of previous generations. Our colleagues at 21/64 and the Johnson Center for Philanthropy have recently completed…
February 9, 2012

Tools and Tips for Next Gen Philanthropists

Most philanthropic families say they want the next generation at the table. Yet how do new trustees develop their personal values and ideas to contribute to the discussions?  And when and if the next gen has a sense of how they’d like to give, will the board actually welcome their…

Can Minors Serve on Boards?

According to BoardSource, one of the most respected authorities on boards and governance, the answer is “It depends:”

“...when it is possible, the rewards usually outweigh most of the concerns. A few states do not allow young people to serve on boards, and many states have laws prohibiting minors to sign binding contracts. Before inviting young people to serve on your board, verify whether your state has an age limit for board members. Even if your state law prohibits minors from serving as full members of the board, there are many ways to benefit from the ideas and perspectives that young people bring. You can ask them to serve as nonvoting members of the board, to become members on an advisory council, or to chair a committee or a special event.

If you decide to invite a minor to serve as a board member, keep these points in mind:

Provide adequate orientation or assign a board mentor.

Avoid electing minors as officers in charge of financial matters.

When the law prohibits it, don’t allow minors to sign binding contracts for the organization.

Provide D&O insurance for the entire board, but be aware that some policies may exclude minors.

Sample Policies and Practices

See Policy Central: Engaging Next Gen and Extended Family for a variety of  policies and practices for creating and managing next gen and junior advisory boards.