Amid global crises and a tumultuous investing climate, family offices found plenty of time for philanthropy this year. Crain Currency was on top of the biggest developments and trends, with stories covering everything from major donations and emerging strategies to guides to giving and explainers on new approaches to philanthropy.
Here are Crain Currency’s most-read stories on philanthropy in 2023:
Like generations before her, Danielle DePriest is juggling parenthood and a career. But unlike earlier generations, DePriest, 33, and many of her peers aren't waiting to engage in philanthropy and board service. And they aren't interested in just writing checks and stepping aside. Their desire to get involved in social impact now, at a much younger age, through volunteerism, board service and philanthropy is one of the key traits that experts say will make them the most significant philanthropists in U.S. history.
Little in life is as noble as periodically suspending the seemingly endless pursuit of our own self-interests to serve others who perhaps are less fortunate. Contrary to popular belief, donating your time or financial resources, or both, need not be an entirely selfless exercise. It’s perfectly OK to use such opportunities as a way to also benefit yourself and your family. It can, and frankly should be, mutually beneficial.
Erica Berger began running her family office after her father died in 2021. Before his death, she persuaded him to pivot from funding land restoration projects to impact investing.
Like most people, you probably have been solicited by multiple philanthropic organizations for donations. Often, when the doorbell or phone rings, and we encounter a request for cash, we feel cornered but wish to be good citizens and therefore donate some amount to a good cause. However, we feel uninformed as to who this person is — are they representing the organization they claim to represent?
Byron Trott says the small Missouri town where he grew up wasn’t the kind of place that got regular visits from admissions officers from Yale, MIT or his own alma mater, the University of Chicago. Now the billionaire banker, who rose to the top levels of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. before founding his own firm, is backing an effort to change that.
The $25 billion international network of foundations started by George Soros is shuttering offices around the world as it prepares to cut more than 40% of its staff. Employees of the Open Society Foundations’ Africa operations received correspondence detailing the next steps of the process, which includes closing half a dozen offices on the continent in addition to its Baltimore and Barcelona locations.
When times are tough economically, Americans are used to tightening our belts to make ends meet. As a kid growing up in the 1970s, Peter Klein remembers how his parents would replace products like Jif Peanut Butter and Crest toothpaste with their off-brand competitors to help stretch the household budget.
Family offices and wealthy investors are rocking the genteel world of philanthropy for colleges by pulling their donations in outrage over university responses to the Israel-Hamas war. In one instance, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. sent a letter to then-President Elizabeth Magill of the University of Pennsylvania to announce that the Huntsman Foundation was halting donations to the school, citing its “silence in the face of reprehensible and historic Hamas evil.”
Philanthropy is a passion for most high-net-worth families. Yet just because it’s a passion, doesn’t make it any less of a business. As such, whether a donor is highly experienced or a novice, it’s important to approach philanthropy as you would any investment — with proper research and diligence.
For wealthy families, there is arguably no better way to manifest their legacy than through philanthropy. With the right planning and strategy, family foundations can create a lasting impact on their communities while strengthening interfamilial relationships.