The New Philanthropists: More Sophisticated, More Demanding—and Younger (Knowledge@Wharton)

Published: April 24, 2013 in Knowledge@Wharton.

Steel magnate Andrew Carnegie once said that he who dies leaving behind many millions will “pass away unwept, unhonored and unsung.” That philosophy took root in much of the last century, with major philanthropists giving vast fortunes in their later years to libraries, museums, hospitals and other institutions devoted to the public good.

But donors today aren’t taking any chances. They are flexing philanthropic muscle at a younger age than their predecessors. At many top business schools, students are integrating the practice of philanthropy into education early on, and donors are often beginning to share substantial wealth long before accumulating the full measure of it.

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