I saw this interesting article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy this week.  It focuses on where the wealthiest people in the country are directing their philanthropy, and at what levels.  In addition to the points mentioned, it seems to me there is an opportunity here with donors giving away money at younger ages than before.

Check it out………

February 10, 2013

America’s Big Donors Lag in Charitable Giving

By Maria Di Mento and Caroline Preston

More of America’s billionaires are starting to give away their fortunes even before they reach middle age, according to a new Chronicle study. Among the five top philanthropists last year, three were couples under 40. The youngest was Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook co-founder, who is 28, and his 27-year-old wife, Priscilla Chan.

Drawn to the possibility of influencing social issues for decades to come, the young and super-rich are turning philanthropy into a newlywed activity instead of a deathbed one. “Young entrepreneurs are hard-wired for philanthropy,” says Eric Kessler, a principal at Arabella Advisors, a group that guides donors. “Our parents started and ran successful companies and said, I’ll sell this business and become a philanthropist. This generation is saying, I’m starting a business so I can be a philanthropist now.”

But even with $1.1-billion in new gifts from billionaires under 40, megaphilanthropy last year remained below levels seen before 2007’s economic shock. The top 50 donors on The Chronicle’s list committed a total of $7.4-billion to charity in 2012. The median gift was $49.6-million, down significantly from 2007’s high of $74.7-million. Most of the money went to big, elite institutions. Seventy-two percent of the dollars pledged supported higher education, arts and culture, hospitals, and private foundations.

The top donor on the list, Warren Buffett, gave $3.1-billion to the foundations of his three children. He was followed by Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Chan, who committed $498.8-million to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Next was thirty-something couple John and Laura Arnold, who gave $423.4-million to their foundation and other groups. Mr. Arnold started a hedge fund.

Wealthy donors’ support of institutions that have a record of securing big gifts have helped those groups weather the recession.

See more interesting facts and read the full article……….