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The next generation of philanthropists are cementing their parent’s legacy.

Australia is undergoing an unprecedented $2.6 trillion intergenerational wealth transfer as Baby Boomers’ assets are passed on to the next generation. However, another type of wealth transfer – one that can change society as well as individuals – is also taking place.

Families are increasingly embracing intergenerational philanthropy to deepen their relationships and create a more lasting personal legacy. 

It is a journey that often develops over time for siblings, children, and extended family who are brought into philanthropy. Their level of involvement depends on multiple factors, such as the amount of time they have available outside of education, career and family commitments.

Melissa Duggan and her siblings were busy raising young families when their dad, John Laidlaw, founded The John & Betty Laidlaw Legacy, which was funded by the sale of his workwear business Hard Yakka in 2008.

However, when the time was right, he brought them into the Legacy’s decision-making process, which then flowed through to Melissa’s own children.

“My children, Jasmine and Ben, have grown up with dinner-table discussions about the Legacy and social causes,” she says. “It’s never something that we forced on her; just something that she learned by osmosis.”

Each family member has a role during respectful discussions the areas and charities they should fund. 

“Philanthropy has been such a positive thing for our family. It’s brought us closer together with our dad and strengthened us as siblings. I hope that Jasmine and her cousins experience the closeness that we’ve enjoyed as a result of philanthropy.

For the Pawlowski family, their youngest daughter Caitlin was in her 20s when she made clear her desire to take a hands-on role in the family’s philanthropy at a strategic planning session run by Equity Trustees Giving Consultancy.

Caitlin and her family made a commitment to invest in the National Breast Cancer Foundation, directed towards research by University of Adelaide Associate Professor Theresa Hickey, whom she was able to later meet.

“I feel so connected to this project now. To see Theresa and her PhD students in the lab, having them explain their work, step by step was fantastic. I’m in absolute awe of them, their work and the potential impact of their research for women everywhere.”

Hope Dyson says her parents always encouraged her and her sister to be involved in family decisions, which naturally grew to include its philanthropy.

“The Dyson Bequest, founded by my great Aunt and Uncle, is in a gradual transition from the second to third generation, which puts Annabel and I in a unique position. We will take over stewarding the families multi-generational giving, creating our own path while remembering the giving that has come before us.”

While the family has shared values, their individual passions are also reflected in the different causes the Bequest supports. This requires mutual respect, honest communication and friendly negotiation. 

“Attending conferences like NEXUS and Impatience Earth have allowed me to network and connect with other likeminded next-generation peers, where we’ve been able to learn together and share our own insights. I have found it rewarding to be in forums where young people are thinking the same as me and learning how to address big social issues, like climate change.”

If you and your family would like to experience the Giving Consultancy or gain greater connection to organisations you’re passionate about speak with your Relationship Manager.