The Next Big Conversation in Florida Philanthropy: Guiding Donors Through Florida’s Wealth Transfer


The theme of Florida Philanthropic Network’s 2015 Statewide Summit on Philanthropy, which is being held on January 29-30, is “The Next Big Conversations in Florida Philanthropy.” In the spirit of the Summit’s theme, this post is part of a series where we’ve asked some of our member leaders to share their thoughts on the next big conversations that should be taking place in Florida’s philanthropic sector. For more information on the Summit, visit

Thank you to Joanne Cohen, Vice President of Philanthropic Services at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida for sharing her thoughts on the next big conversation in Florida philanthropy. 

The phone rang and I was greeted with the following question: “Do you have any ideas about how I can talk to my young adult children about philanthropy? Can you help me?” This has become a common question in our northeast Florida community among our foundation donors. Why now? Is this the next big conversation in Florida philanthropy? I think the answer is a resounding yes!

We all are aware that upwards of 59 TRILLION dollars will transfer by 2061. We know that women will most likely inherit twice, once from their parents and again from their spouse. The experiences of each generation inform us about how donors see the world. We need to be prepared to guide multiple generations of donors in their philanthropy. We know that philanthropy won’t look the same as earlier generations. The decisions won’t be influenced by the same factors as before. The risk tolerance may be different and the outcomes measured in new ways. The quest to instill the spirit of philanthropy in families will however remain the same.

We need to spend time with donors of all generations. Ask them about motivations and interests and listen carefully to their responses. You will hear different values and traits about how they view philanthropy. We need to continue to talk about the importance of the not-for-profit agencies in our communities. Our local knowledge and relationships can provide resources to our donors as they talk and teach their children about their families approach to philanthropy.

The answer to my donor was simple. “Yes, I am happy to help you. We have other donors who have asked a similar question. I know that together we can find the right approach for your family.” What would your answer be?


– Joanne E. Cohen, J.D., Vice President, Philanthropic Services, The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida

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